Two Of America’s Biggest Drug Problems Are Intertwined

The Huffington Post  | by  Jillian Berman

Posted: 02/07/2014 1:29 pm EST Updated: 02/07/2014 1:59 pm EST

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Behind the recent uptick in heroin deaths is a spike in the number of Americans abusing another kind of drug: prescription painkillers, which Hoffman reportedly abused before his problem escalated to include heroin.

Opiates like Oxycotin, Vicodin and Percoset have a similar chemical makeup to heroin, and they can also be highly addictive, which has led to an abuse crisis that’s cost the U.S. more than $55 billion in lost economic output in 2009, according to Seeking Alpha. But unlike heroin, they’re legal with a prescription and generate billions for the pharmaceutical industry every year.

The link between heroin and painkillers is strong.

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