DEA data on Ohio shows how drug companies poured billions of pills into the hands of consumers.

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Drug companies doled out more than 3.7 billion prescription painkillers in Ohio during a seven-year period in the years preceding an opioid epidemic that cost thousands of lives and millions of dollars, according to a cleveland.com analysis of information in a government-maintained database.

Hydrocodone and oxycodone pills flooded the state between 2006 and 2012, with the numbers of painkillers per person going much deeper in area along the southern border that abuts Kentucky and West Virginia.

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