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Nilesh Patel column: Actor's overdose underscores larger drug problem

7:25 PM, Feb. 18, 2014
Green Bay Fire Department firefighter/paramedic Trevor Sorge from Station 5 holds a vial of Narcan, which is injected to counteract the effects of heroin overdose. A bill in the state legislators would allow more first responders and emergency medical technicians to administer Narcan.
Green Bay Fire Department firefighter/paramedic Trevor Sorge from Station 5 holds a vial of Narcan, which is injected to counteract the effects of heroin overdose. A bill in the state legislators would allow more first responders and emergency medical technicians to administer Narcan.
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With the recent death of Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, heroin abuse has again become a hot topic. Unfortunately, the current heroin epidemic is really just part of a wider narcotic abuse problem - particularly of prescription (opioid) painkillers.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we've set records for opioid-related deaths every year from 1999 through 2010 (the most recent year for which data was available). While heroin took many of these lives (3,036 deaths), five times more have come from pharmaceutical drug overdoses.

In fact, ...

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