Painkiller deaths are on the rise

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HOUSTON, TX - Painkillers can ease your agony, but also can unintentionally put you out of your misery.

The Centers For Disease Control says narcotic painkiller related deaths quadrupled between 1999 and 2011. They include OD's from drugs like Vicodin, Morphine and Oxycodone.

"People can take it, they want to get high, and when they take too much they die." explained Amitava Dasgupta Ph.D with UTHealth Medical School.

Besides the folks who intentionally abuse these drugs, self dosing is behind much of the problem.

"They think, the doctor gave me one tablet - take twice a day, but you know, I want more pain relief so I`m going to take 4 tablets every day, that`s going to cause overdose." said Dasgupta.

These pain killers are intended for post surgical relief or care for cancer patients, and are sometimes over perscribed for less serious problems.

"They can say, "Oh my god, I can`t walk" so they go to a doctor, and doctors just give them pain medication without thinking, he might be faking the pain or he`s not a candidate." according to Dasgupta.

There is some good news though. Since 2006, the numbers are rising at a much slower rate due to federal regulations, as well as public education.

"Oxycodone is a medicine if you take 10mg or 20mg, but it`s a poison if you take 160mg." Dasgupta warned.

The lesson that should be learned is don`t let your painkillers kill you!

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