Tracking painkillers sales

, Posted: Tue, July 1 2014 at 1:39 PM, Updated: Tue, July 1 2014 at 3:10 PM

(NBC News) Treatment of severe pain may not depend on how badly you feel, but where you live.

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control finds prescription rates for opioid painkillers like Oxycodone and Hydrocodone vary widely from state to state.

Most states with the highest prescription rates are in the South, with Alabama topping the list.

Experts say it's not that people living in southern states are in more pain than others. The South has the highest rates of antibiotic prescriptions as well.

"Clearly there's a disagreement or a lack of consensus among providers across the country as to when to prescribe this type of drug," says the CDC's Dr. Len Paulozzi.

The problem is there is also a link between the number of prescriptions written and overdoses.

Florida is touted as a success story, slashing the number of overdose deaths in half within two years of legislative action against pill mills. The state regulated pain clinics and stopped doctors from dispensing prescription painkillers from their offices.

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