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New Report Puts Spotlight on Epidemic of Painkiller Abuse and Need for Patient Education and Resources

RICHMOND, Va., Nov. 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- In response to a report recently issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about the rising death toll from prescription painkiller overdose, Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals Inc. is encouraging individuals affected by painkiller dependence to learn more about the disease of addiction, available options and the importance of getting treatment by visiting

The new CDC report showed that overdose deaths from prescription painkillers such as Vicodin® and OxyContin® now exceeds the number of deaths from heroin and cocaine combined. In fact, the report revealed that on average more than 40 people die each day from overdoses of prescription painkillers representing an annual death toll of more than 15,000 people in the United States.

"Too often I see patients who are reluctant to address their addiction because of fear or embarrassment, without realizing that there are options beyond the traditional rehabilitation facilities and public clinics," said Mark Kraus, Addiction Medicine Specialist and Diplomat of the American Board of Addiction Medicine.  "People dependent on painkillers need to know that treatment can be a private and personalized experience with a physician, who is trained to address an individual's needs."    

Prescription painkiller addiction is a chronic disease. It is not a failure of personal will – a common misconception.  Earlier this year, American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) defined addiction as a chronic brain disorder and not simply a behavioral problem. Currently there are options available in the privacy of a physician's office that are proven to work in conjunction with counseling to help mitigate the unpleasant symptoms experienced by many patients who are working to overcome their dependence.

"Seeking treatment for painkiller dependence can be daunting in part because of misinformation and/or misperceptions about what treatment entails," said Gary Phillips, M.D., President of Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals, North America. "The truth is that there is a spectrum of options and resources available to people that they may not be aware of, which is why it's important to take that first step and talk to a qualified doctor and get the facts."  

To support people facing addiction to painkillers, the Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals web site,, offers a simple screening tool to help those at risk recognize if they or a loved one may be addicted and includes a physician finder to identify a local doctor who is specially trained in treating people with addiction to painkillers.

About Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals

Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals is a specialty pharmaceutical company committed to expanding access to medical therapies for patients suffering from the chronic, relapsing brain disease of opioid dependence. The company manufactures and markets treatments for opioid dependence. Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reckitt Benckiser Group plc, a global company publicly traded on the UK stock exchange.

SOURCE Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals
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