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Prince autopsy results sparking new debate over opioid epidemic, prescription drug abuse

Prince autopsy results sparking new debate over opioid epidemic, prescription drug abuse

(NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Prince's autopsy results say he died from an accidental Fentanyl overdose, and it's once again sparking debate about prescription drug abuse.

Overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, and experts say opioids are driving the epidemic.

Since 1999, the number of prescriptions sold for opioids has quadrupled, and so has the number of people who have died from them.

It's believed 78 Americans die every day from opioid overdoses, and 1,000 people visit the emergency room each day .

"Although there is some evidence that doctors are scaling back a little bit, we have a long way to go," said Dr. Caleb Alexander, with Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The CDC released guidelines for doctors this year, discouraging the prescription of opioids for chronic pain, and encouraging over the counter pain meds instead.

If patients must take an opioid, doctors recommend they use the lowest dose possible for the shortest period of time.

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