A growing number of elderly Americans are becoming addicted to painkillers. Fault Lines explores what's behind this hidden epidemic and looks at efforts aimed at stopping it.
It's no secret that there's an opioid drug addiction epidemic in the U.S., which consumes 80 percent of the world's pain pills. But what may be surprising is that a growing number of American senior citizens are also becoming addicted to these powerful painkillers.
According to a lawsuit brought by two counties in California, top opioid drug makers targeted certain well-insured groups, like the elderly, in their marketing to doctors. And it claims that prominent pain management physicians were complicit in promoting misleading facts about the effects of these painkillers on seniors.
Fault Lines speaks to former and current elderly opioid addicts—as well as a man who lost his wife to an overdose—and looks at how some are fighting back to stop the epidemic in its tracks.
Executive Producer: Mathieu Skene, Senior Producer: Laila Al-Arian @LailaAlarian,Correspondent: Libby Casey @libcasey, Director of Photography: Víctor Tadashi Suárez @tadashi_lives, Editor: Warwick Meade @warwickmeade, Associate Producer: Daphne Matziaraki @dmatziaraki, Additional Photography: Paul Abowd @paulabowd, Matt Bockelman @flyseyefilms, Production Manager: Dana Merwin @dana_merwin, Digital Producer: Nikhil Swaminathan @sw4mi, Production Assistance: Zahra Rasool @RXahra
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Once thought to be a problem of the young, opioid addiction is becoming increasingly common among elderly Americans
Andrew Kolodny of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing discusses 'hidden epidemic' of elderly painkiller abuse
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