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The Boston Globe

Nation

Fatal overdoses rise; most involve painkillers

38,329 deaths in ’10 exceed those from illicit drugs

CHICAGO — Drug overdose deaths rose for the 11th straight year, federal data show, and most of them were accidents involving addictive painkillers, despite growing attention to risks from these medicines.

‘‘The big picture is that this is a big problem that has gotten much worse quickly,’’ said Dr. Thomas Frieden, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which gathered and analyzed the data.

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