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Prescription Painkiller Sales Soar as More Americans Become Addicted

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Soaring sales of the nation's two most popular prescription painkillers are fueling concerns that more Americans are addicted to Oxycodone and Hydrocodone. Oxycodone is the active ingredient in OxyContin, Percocet and Percodan while Hydrocodone is the active ingredient in Vicodin, Norco and Lortab.

Rising sales have also been regionally-based, with the largest increases in sales of Oxycodone in places like New Mexico and Staten Island. Hydrocodone has sold the most in the Midwest and Appalachia. The rises in sales have occured simulataneously with overdose deaths, pharmacy robberies and related problems in Florida, Utah, New Mexico and Nevada.

Statistics show that nationwide pharmacies distributed the equivalent of 69 tons of Oxycodone and 42 tons of Hydrocodone, which is enough give every American 40 5-mg Percocets and 24 5-mg of Vicodin. Sales have been driven by a larger number of people who are addicted to prescription painkillers and an aging population that suffers from age-related pains.