By Olga Khazan 

May 15, 2017


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It can sometimes seem strange how so much of the country got hooked on

opioids within just a few years. Deaths from prescription drugs like

oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone have more than quadrupled since 1999,

according to the CDC. But pain doesn't seem to be the only culprit: About

one-third of Americans have chronic pain, but not all of them take

prescription painkillers for it. Of those who do take prescription opioids,

not all become addicted.


Several researchers now believe depression, one of the most common medical

diagnoses in the U.S., might be one underlying cause that's driving some

patients to seek out prescription opioids and to use them improperly.