US painkiller addiction 'epidemic'
10 May 2012 Last updated at 23:19 BST
Americans consume 80% of opiate pain-killers produced in the world, according to congressional testimony by the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians.
Many ask their doctors for the drugs without fully understanding their addictive nature, and, once hooked, some turn to backstreet dealers or even crime to feed their habit.
Laura Trevelyan reports from Long Island.