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Prescription painkillers, not marijuana, are the 'silent killers'

Drugs like Oxycontin and Vicodin now cause more overdose deaths than both cocaine and heroin, reports Cullen Browder for WRAL News. North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper says, "We see more people dying from this problem than we do from all of the other drugs combined."

In North Carolina, drug possession charges can also come about from having painkillers - not just the notorious types of illegal drugs like cocaine and heroin.

In Lisa Angeles's case, her addiction to Percocet resulted in a fatal car wreck, landing her behind bars in the North Carolina Correctional Institution. What started as a way to ease her pain while Angeles recovered in the hospital after an accident became a full-blown addiction after she was discharged.

Angeles crossed the center line and struck oncoming traffic, killing a 24-year-old woman. As Browder reports, Angeles says, "Everyday, I think about that."

Donnie Varnell heads up the State Bureau of Investigation Diversion and Environmental Crimes Unit. Of prescription painkillers, Varnell says, "It is the No. 1 drug problem in the nation, and it's also the No. 1 drug problem in North Carolina."

Source: WRAL News, "Most deadly drug in NC? Prescription painkillers," by Cullen Browder, 11/7/11

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