King County Loves Its Painkillers

Spend enough of time talking to hardcore drug addicts (and, believe me, I have) and you'll inevitably get drawn into a debate over a particular locality's narcotic of choice, debates that in the absence of hard data often devolve into arguments over the quality of what could be copped and how popular it was before the supply dried up. Enter the University of Washington Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute, who in a just released report, offers the solemn but illuminating news that in the county of King, abuse of prescription drugs has become the leading cause of drug related deaths.

Opiates like oxycodone, hydrocodone and other painkillers accounted for 153 of last year's 256 drug related deaths, followed by cocaine which is cited as the cause of 71. In even less uplifting news, the percentage of King County 10th graders who confess to getting lifted off prescription opiates is holding steady at 8 percent. One of their more common sources: their own homes. It's 10 o'clock. Do you know where your mother's little helpers are?

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