By Olga Khazan
May 15, 2017
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.