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America's prescription drug epidemic

By prospect   August 2009

Michael Jackson’s death was a “wake-up call to the nation” about prescription drugs, according to US drug czar Gil Kerlikowske, after reports linked the singer’s death with his use of Demerol, Methadone, and the anti-anxiety drug Xanax. Following Heath Ledger’s death in January 2008 from a similarly exotic mix of painkillers, Jackson’s demise was explained in media reports as part of a sharply rising trend in US prescription drug abuse. But the trend, which was startling in the 1990s, has now flattened out. According to research from America’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health America, huge increases in non-medical…

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