A lot of people are having trouble getting enough oxygen to breathe, and a growing number of people have been taking OxyContin and other opioids for a while, a new study suggests.
The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, found that people who were using more than the recommended daily dose of OxyContin in the past year had an increased risk of developing respiratory symptoms, such as shortness of breath, as a result of a drug overdose.
The researchers found that there were also more opioid-related deaths in the US than in the UK, as well as the risk of death from heart disease and diabetes.
Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, used a nationwide database to examine the data from the US Food and Drug Administration, which allows researchers to examine trends in the use of prescription opioids in the United States.
They found that in the 12 months between January 2015 and January 2017, there were 8,928 overdose deaths in people who had been using opioids for at least a year.
This number is double the number of opioid-associated deaths reported in 2015, the researchers found.
But they found that the increase in deaths from opioid overdoses was much higher in the southern half of the US (the study is ongoing), compared with northern areas, such that the average rate of overdose deaths there was 3.4 times higher than the national average.
“It’s a very big difference,” said study co-author Michael Siegel, a professor of health systems and epidemiology at UC San Francisco.
“We were really surprised that there was such a big difference between the northern and southern parts of the country.”
Researchers also found that some of the people who died were older than the US population average, which makes sense, given that people are more likely to have chronic health conditions.
But the researchers caution that the results don’t mean that people should rush to prescribe opioids for chronic conditions, as they could have other health problems, like a heart attack, stroke or lung disease.
“What we need to do is look at whether this might be something we should be more worried about and take action to address,” Siegel said.
The data also comes as President Donald Trump is preparing to announce his first budget, which could be the most aggressive attempt to rein in opioid abuse and overdose since the 1980s.
The administration is expected to propose a proposal that would cut funding for treatment for opioid addiction by more than $50 billion, and to cut $1.6 billion from the Department of Health and Human Services’ budget for research on opioid addiction.
The proposed cuts are likely to be a priority for Republicans in Congress, which is trying to pass a sweeping drug addiction legislation, the opioid legislation known as the American Health Care Act.
A White House official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the proposal was not yet public, told the AP that Trump is “working on a plan to address opioid abuse.”
The official added that the proposal is still being reviewed.
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