NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- New York City officials said the number of opioid painkiller prescriptions filled by city residents climbed to more than 2 million in 2010 -- a 22 percent increase from 2008.
"That's a rapid increase in the number of prescriptions of any type and we know that it is heavily concentrated in the hands of a few doctors and pharmacies, which gives rise to the concerns that those prescriptions may not always be appropriate,'" said Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs.
1010 WINS' Stan Brooks Reports
The data released on Wednesday also showed that 8,000 health care providers, about 15 percent, wrote the vast majority of those prescriptions, more than 80 percent.
Opioids reduce pain but carry the risk of addiction and overdose. They include drugs like Oxycontin and Vicodin.
A task force on prescription painkiller abuse wants the state's drug monitoring system to be made stronger. The task force also wants that database to be consulted by doctors and pharmacists to prevent overprescribing or misuse.
According to city data, there's been a 30 percent increase in overdose deaths that are linked to opioids since 2005.
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