More than 60% of opioid overdose victims are taking the pills to treat a chronic pain condition, study finds

More than 60 percent of people killed by opioid overdoses were driven to the addictive pills by a chronic pain condition, according to a major report.

The number of opioid-related deaths quadrupled between 1999 and 2015, from around 8,000 to more than 33,000.

The Columbia University study – the largest ever on opioid deaths – analyzed the prescriptions of 13,000 victims through Medicaid to find almost two-thirds of them had been diagnosed with chronic pain, and a significant proportion of them also suffered depression and anxiety.

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