Legal-Drug Overdoses on the Rise

    FILE - In this Aug. 5, 2010 file photo, a pharmacy technician poses for a picture with hydrocodone tablets at the Oklahoma Hospital Discount Pharmacy in Edmond, Okla. Hydrocodone is the key ingredient in Vicodin. The number of overdose deaths from powerful painkillers more than tripled over a decade, the government reported Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2011 - a trend that a U.S. health official called an epidemic, but one that can be stopped. Prescription painkillers such as OxyContin, Vicodin and methadone led to the deaths of almost 15,000 people in 2008, including actor Heath Ledger. That's more than three times the 4,000 deaths from narcotics in 1999. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

    Sue Ogrocki / AP Photo

    Prescription drugs have fueled a wave of overdoses over the past decade, a Los Angeles Times investigation shows. While federal efforts to curb the abuse of painkiller medications have focused on illegally obtained drugs, many overdoses have taken the lives of patients who were prescribed the medications by their physicians. Drug overdoses from prescription drugs now claim more lives in the United States than heroin and cocaine together, the Times reports.

    Read it at Los Angeles Times