COLUMBUS – With a record 2,110 fatal drug overdoses in Ohio in 2013 alone, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) outlined efforts to combat prescription drug abuse by increasing access to treatment options.

Drug abuse now costs more American lives than car accidents, and opioid overdose – including death from prescription pain relievers and heroin – has increased dramatically due, in part, to a lack of treatment available to users and addicts.

“When it’s easier for Americans to access opioids than it is for them access help to treat their addiction, we have a serious problem,” Brown said. “Opioid addiction is a chronic disease that, when left untreated, places a large burden on our health care system and on our families. We must ensure that there are a variety of treatment options available for those who need help battling addiction, including effective medication-assisted treatment in combination with behavioral therapy and supports.”

Deaths from opioid overdoses in the United States have increased by more than five times since 1980. During a news conference call Wednesday, Brown released a county-by-county report on the number of deaths due to unintended drug overdoses in Ohio from 2008-2013. Each year, about 475,000 emergency room visits in the U.S. are attributable to the misuse and abuse of opioid pain killers.

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