America Consumes 99% of the World’s Hydrocodone

This Washington Post interview with Keith Humphreys, an addiction scientist/clinician/policymaker, is bleak and fascinating. I didn’t know that more people die from overdose than car crashes each year, or that impurities are rarely important factors in drug deaths, or that (although it makes perfect sense) the tendency to mix drugs is highly generational, and that today “you meet a drug user, and virtually always you’re meeting a poly-drug user.” I also did not know that the U.S. “accounts for 99% of the world’s hydrocodone consumption,” and there are more prescriptions written for opiates each year than there are adults in the country, and at one point “49 of the top 50 prescribers of opiates in the United States were located in Broward County, Florida.”

At the end Humphreys talks about the possibility of a still-illegal drug take-back program, like a bin at the pharmacy where you can toss your extra post-surgery pills instead of hoarding them. Sounds pretty good? [Washington Post]

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