Federal data shows spread of 76 billion opioid pills
CLEVELAND (AP) - Newly public federal data shows how drug companies increased shipments of opioid painkillers across the U.S. as a national addiction crisis accelerated from 2006 to 2012.
The data reported Tuesday by The Washington Post shows that companies distributed 8.4 billion hydrocodone and oxycodone pills to commercial pharmacies in 2006 and 12.6 billion in 2012.
Over that seven-year period, 76 billion pills were distributed in all and prescription opioids contributed to more than 100,000 deaths in the U.S.
The data was released as part of lawsuits by local governments seeking to hold drug companies accountable for the crisis.
The Post and HD Media, which owns newspapers in West Virginia, sued for the information. It has not yet been released to the public or other media outlets.