PREVIEW: The Untold Toll Of Opioid Abuse

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - The opioid crisis is at an all time high for lives lost. But it's actually been building for quite some time.  

KELOLAND's Angela Kennecke joins us now with a look at how the crisis has hit this country in waves. 

In 2017, more than 72,000 Americans died from drug overdoses: more than in car crashes, or acts of violence. 

Most drug overdoses involved some type of opioid.

The current opioid epidemic, which began in the mid-1990's, unfolded in phases

In 1995: Purdue Pharma got approval for the powerful opioid, OxyContin. Many patients got hooked and began doctor shopping. People also began abusing OxyContin, by crushing and injecting it.

In 2007, Purdue paid a $634-million fine for lying about OxyContin, which the company claimed was less addictive than other opioids.

Prescriptions for opioids tripled between 1991 and 2011 with doctors blamed for over prescribing the drugs. 

A Sioux Falls woman had two generations of her family affected by this opioid epidemic, long before we saw the overdose numbers rise to record levels. 

"I think that as the years went on, she got so dependent on the drugs and the pain medication she was on that she didn't think she could function without them," Brianna Lovaas said.  

Lovaas lost more than her mother to the opioid crisis. We see how the drugs devastated two generations of her family Monday on the Untold Toll of Opioid Abuse.  

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