The abuse of narcotic painkillers, as measured by hospital admissions for treatment of abuse, is soaring, up 155% nationally from 1992 to 2002, according to government figures. The increase was not nearly as great in large urban areas, where it rose 58%, as in rural areas, where it rose 269%. In small metropolitan areas, it was up 175%. Large metropolitan areas were defined as counties with populations of 1 million or more; small metropolitan areas were those with populations of less than 1 million; and rural areas were counties that lacked a city with a population of 10,000 or more.
Narcotic abuse on the rise
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