A House of Representatives judicial committee held a hearing on July 28 about the skyrocketing drug overdoses from heroin and prescription painkillers in the U.S. (video below).
Jack Riley, acting deputy administrator of the Drug Enforcement Agency, told lawmakers:
"Drug overdoses are the leading cause of injury-related death here in the United States, eclipsing deaths from motor vehicle crashes. There were over 43,000 deaths in 2013, or approximately 120 per day, over half of which involved either a prescription painkiller or heroin. These are our family members, friends, neighbors and colleagues."
Michael Botticelli, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, added: “To address the overdose death issue, we have been working to increase access to naloxone (antidote for heroin overdoses) for first responders and individuals close to those with opioid drug use disorders," notes RT.com.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Zohydro, an opioid-based prescription painkiller drug that is 10 times more powerful than Vicodin, in February 2014, noted My Fox Twin Cities.
Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters earlier this month, "We are priming people to addiction to heroin with overuse of prescription opiates, which are, after all, essentially the same chemical with the same impact on the brain," noted The Los Angeles Times.