Pain pills leading cause of untimely death

According to federal officials, accidental poisonings, largely due to prescription drug overdoses, are now the leading cause of premature death in the United States, outpacing auto accidents and gunshot wounds. Prescription drug abuse accounts for more overdoses than heroin and cocaine combined. Of the 37,000 people who died of a drug overdose in 2009, roughly 40 percent — more than 15,000 — were using prescription opiates, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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