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May 6, 2009

Prescription Opioids and Overdose Deaths

JAMA. 2009;301(17):1766-1769. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.577

To the Editor: Dr Hall and colleagues1 studied the patterns of abuse among unintentional pharmaceutical overdose fatalities in West Virginia. There has been a similar increase in opioid and other prescription drug-related deaths in the state of Florida, and mixed-drug intoxication is now a common cause of death in this area. For example, since 2001 the numbers of methadone-related deaths in Florida have been increasing while the rates of heroin-related deaths have decreased.2 The misuse of prescription opioids has led to an epidemic of opioid-related deaths.

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