By Lynne Adkins

PHILADELPHIA, PA (CBS) — Philadelphia officials are sounding the alarm concerning the rising abuse of prescription pain killers.

The abuse of opioids such as oxycodone, morphine, and codeine is an epidemic, according to Roland Lamb, director of Philadelphia’s Office of Addiction Services.

A key reason is that they can be easy to find, simply by opening the family medicine cabinet.

“There is an individual issue in terms of the individual person who is using drugs, and may begin starting off very innocently with a prescription,” says Lamb. “And in fact, we are seeing most of our new initiates with illicit drug use begin with prescriptions for opioids.”

Lamb says the growing addiction problem is adding to the number of emergency room visits, rescue calls, treatment placements and deaths in Philadelphia every year.

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