Drugs firms join fight against painkiller deaths epidemic

New treatments for opioid addiction from industry finally trying to tackle problem it helped to create

The numbers in the US alone are astonishing: more than 53,000 people over 12 months; an average of 146 a day. This is the death toll from opioid overdoses last year, many of them from widely prescribed painkillers, such as tramadol, codeine and oxycodone.

Donald Trump has declared America’s opioid problem a “public health emergency” as it spiralled into the deadliest drug epidemic in US history. Now the pharmaceutical industry, which has been heavily criticised for its role in the crisis, is seeking to address a disaster it helped create. Two companies are offering new monthly treatments for those hooked on powerful painkillers, with one approved by the US regulator last week.

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