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City Council Holds Hearing To Address Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The City Council's Public Safety Committee addressed the nation's fastest growing drug problem at a hearing on Wednesday.

Witnesses testified that prescription painkiller abuse has become a major multimillion dollar drug epidemic in the city.

1010 WINS' Stan Brooks reports


"One of the things we often see is people who start out with an addiction to the opiate pain medication switching over to heroin when the prescription pills get to be to expensive," Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan said. "When they can no longer pay $20 or $30 for an oxycodone pill they switch to a $10 bag of heroin."

Brennan testified that the supply of prescription painkillers has skyrocketed over the past five years.

"What we have seen is huge amounts of opiate-prescription drugs just flooding the streets of New York," Brennan said. "We see them being distributed at pharmacies, and then often hitting the street, and what that reflects is a tremendous number of people who are addicted to those drugs, and we're going to be grappling with that for a long time."

Last year, nearly 2 million oxycodone and hydrocodone prescriptions were filled, approximately one for every four people in New York City.

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