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White House working to tackle skyrocketing opioid deaths

FILE - This Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013 file photo shows hydrocodone pills, also known as Vicodin, arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)

The Centers for Disease Control recently reported opioid and prescription drug overdoses have quadrupled since 1999.

Now the White House is working to tackle the problem which some are calling a national emergency.

One addict, who didn’t want to give her name, is now in recovery, pregnant with her second child.

“This time around I knew i just didn’t want my baby to go through what my first son went through.”

Nationwide, the numbers are staggering, with drug overdose deaths averaging 142 a day according to the CDC. Some White House officials now point the finger in part at doctors and hospitals for over-prescribing.

“The default prescription for these powerful medications should be short, a few days. We've seen the data. More than five days using these prescription drugs, the addiction rates go up dramatically,” said Richard Baum, Acting Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Looking ahead the White House says it's hoping to try a new strategy, and enlisting the help of those who struggled with drug addiction in the past.

“These people who have been through recovery they've been through a tough experience. They've come out the other side. and they deserve a job they deserve support, they deserve to be integrated back into society. They are part of the solution,” Baum said.

The epidemic continues to spread. There were more than 52,000 overdose deaths in 2015, two thirds of which involved an opioid.


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