Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

Several newspapers included guest editorials by AG McKenna this week. The hidden danger of powerful pain pills appeared in the Everett Herald:

PrettypillsTheir stories are devastating: A Bothell couple whose 17-year-old son lost his life to a toxic combination of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, a Mukilteo parent whose high-schooler’s fatal addiction started when he smoked OxyContin, and a Seattle physician whose 24-year-old son died from an overdose of Oxycodone and cocaine

For those with debilitating pain, prescription pain pills can be a godsend. But the relief comes with a significant downside: many of the most common painkillers can be easily — and lethally — abused.

The Bellingham Herald and the Olympian ran Prescription drug abuse is our new epidemic:

In Washington state, there are more deaths annually from prescription drug abuse than from meth, cocaine, and heroin combined. Due to the abundance of prescription medications, drug overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental death in our state. That means you or a loved one are more likely to die from a drug overdose than from a car crash.

What's causing this epidemic? Drugs like oxycontin, vicodin, and methadone are now commonly prescribed for pain. Prescription pain pills offer relief to millions of Americans but present a hidden danger. These kinds of drugs are called "opiates," the pharmaceutical cousins of heroin.

Find out more about this epidemic on our RxIQ page.