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Stephen Mihm

This Isn't the First U.S. Opiate-Addiction Crisis

Doctors overprescribed painkillers in the 19th century. Eventually, they stopped.
Problem and solution.

Problem and solution.

Source: Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago/Getty Images

The U.S. is in the throes of an “unprecedented opioid epidemic,” reports the Centers for Disease Control. The crisis has spurred calls for action to halt the rising death toll, which has devastated many rural communities.

QuickTake Heroin and Opioids