Painkiller overdose kills more people in U.S. than any other drugs. Addiction to painkillers is growing in the U.S. and recent reports suggest that newborn babies are increasingly showing signs of addiction to common painkillers.

Nature reports that the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the US Food and Drug Administration held a three-day meeting in Bethesda, Maryland, to discuss the use of opioids and its efficacy and other pain-management topics.

"This is an extremely difficult epidemic to combat because unlike cocaine or smoking, the substances being abused can be very useful when you need them. It’s important that we look at the state of the science with respect to the use of opiates because millions of people are taking these drugs for chronic pain, but we don’t know how to prescribe them or how effective they are," said Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Amy Maxmen writes in Nature that a very effective way to reduce opiate abuse would be to find a drug that relieves pain but not induces pleasant emotions.

"We are not sure if it is a reasonable goal to tease apart the property of opioids that relieves pain and the part that causes euphoric effects. In some ways, euphoria is the antithesis of suffering." said Josephine Briggs, director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the NIH.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2008 nearly 15,000 people were killed by prescription painkiller overdose.

An article in the Lancet says that America has become a heavily, and legally medicated society… describing the extent of painkiller abuse in the U.S.

The sales of prescription painkillers are highest in Florida and lowest in Illinois.

Some experts argue that risks of painkillers do not outweigh its benefits. According to a reports by National American Pain Society, less than 3 percent people on opioids show signs of drug abuse.

According to a study about the most common types of pain in U.S., low back pain accounted for 27 percent of all types of pain followed by headache and neck pain with 15 percent.