Fewer people dying from prescription pain medicationon January 23, 2013 @ 3:16 pm (Updated: 3:19 pm - 1/23/13 )
The number of unintentional deaths from drugs such as oxycodone dropped from 512 in 2008 to 407 in 2011.
Health Officer Maxine Hayes says we're not out of the woods yet. While it's encouraging to see the drop, the death rate in 2011 was still six times higher than it was in 1998.
"Our entire community needs to be aware that pain medications can be very helpful but they can also harm and they can kill," says Hayes.
The department doesn't have figures yet for 2012, but it says the downward trend should continue because of new pain management rules for health care providers and a new monitoring program that allows doctors to see all the controlled substances their patients are receiving.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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