A new study conducted by researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health reveals that the number of deaths caused by overdose of prescription painkillers in New York City has soared by more than seven times over the last two decades.
The researchers analyzed data from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in NYC between 1990 and 2006 and found that the number of deaths due to drug overdose had risen to 2.7 per 100,000 in 2006 with almost all of the deaths being caused by analgesic overdoses.
"The researchers examined the factors associated with death from prescription opioids versus heroin, which historically has been the most common type of opioid fatality in urban areas. They found that the increase in the rate of drug overdose was driven entirely by analgesic overdoses, which were 2.7 per 100,000 persons in 2006 or seven times higher than in 1990", the Columbia officials said.
The study has been published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.