Is the painkiller OxyContin causing the rise in opioid overdose deaths?

The opioid painkiller is not killing people but the drug is causing the nation’s opioid epidemic, according to a study that found a surge in overdoses and a rise in deaths associated with prescription painkillers.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the report Monday.

“The opioid epidemic is not ending,” said Dr. William Schaffner, a lead author of the report and an infectious disease specialist at Johns Hopkins University.

“It’s not going away.

It’s becoming a much bigger problem.”

Schaffer and his co-authors analyzed data from a massive survey of U.S. deaths linked to prescription opioid painkillers from 2015 to 2016.

The study included more than 40,000 deaths and showed that opioid-related deaths were on the rise by more than 12,000 in the first three months of this year, nearly double the year-ago peak.

Deaths rose 6 percent in the last three months.

“There is no reason to think that the numbers are coming down, or that it’s going to be a plateau, or anything of the sort,” said Schaffman, who is director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Chronic Disease Management.

“We think this is a real, substantial problem.”

The researchers also noted that some deaths have been linked to the powerful synthetic opioids called fentanyl and carfentanil.

Drug overdose deaths, in particular, have skyrocketed, with a record-breaking 5.2 million in 2017, up more than 50 percent from the year before.

The report said prescription painkiller use in the U.K. and Canada was also rising.

“More and more of these opioids are being abused and they’re getting out into the community,” said Ryan Maue, a Johns Hopkins researcher who was not involved in the study.

“People are going out and getting these pills, and they get hooked.”

The report noted that the use of painkillers is rising among middle-aged Americans, but only slightly.

About 12 percent of the population over 50 years of age use prescription pain medications, while more than a quarter of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 use opioids, the study said.

And the researchers found that many of the overdoses they analyzed were accidental.

“Most of the people who were overdosing in the United States were not necessarily using prescription opioids or drugs they had,” Schaff.

They were also not getting prescriptions from people who needed to get their pills.

The authors cautioned that more data is needed to understand the full impact of the opioid crisis.

“That’s a big gap that needs to be filled,” said John Reimer, a professor of public health at Johns’ School of Public Health.

“But what we can say is this: There are a lot of people in the US who are struggling with pain, who have high levels of chronic pain and who are at higher risk for getting a prescription opioid,” he said.

The CDC said more than half of all opioid-associated deaths occurred in people between the age of 20 and 64.

Schaff and his team also looked at the prevalence of heroin, which is the main drug used to treat opioid addiction.

“Heroin use in our study has increased significantly over the last five years,” he noted.

They found that in the period from 2016 to 2017, heroin usage increased from 4.7 percent of U and Canadian opioid-addicted individuals to 7.2 percent.

“A lot of the increased use of heroin has been driven by individuals who are trying to make a quick buck and trying to get money,” Schafer said.

“They are looking for the quick fix.”

The findings came at a time when opioid abuse has been on the decline in the past several years.

Last year, the number of people dying from opioid overdoses in the nation declined by more then 13,000 to 6,721.

That number is almost four times the number in 2016, the lowest number since at least the 1970s.

The researchers note that there is no definitive data on how many people are using heroin in the country.

They note that people can overdose on opioids or on a combination of opioids, including prescription pain killers.

And some people are getting hooked on fentanyl and other fentanyl-related drugs.

In the U, some heroin-related overdose deaths were linked to fentanyl- and carfi-based drugs, while others were related to oxycodone, an opioid pain reliever.

The Johns Hopkins researchers did not have data on the numbers of people who died from heroin in 2016 or 2017, but said the number could be much higher.

“If we get to the point that there’s a large increase in deaths that’s being driven by opioid abuse, we’re going to see a rise,” said Reimer.

“And it’s not a matter of just one or two deaths, but a lot more.”

In a statement, the U and Canada’s Health Ministry said the increase in drug overdose deaths was linked to an increase in prescription

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