The CDC analyzed rates of fatal opioid painkiller overdoses, nonmedical use of the medications, sales, and treatment admissions for the period 1999 to 2008. Rates of nonmedical opioid pain reliever use in the past year by state were obtained from the 2008 to 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). The CDC found that those opioid-related deaths had increased to the point of exceeding deaths involving heroin and cocaine combined. And, they said, the wide variation among states in the nonmedical use of opioid pain relievers and overdose rates they found cannot be explained by underlying demographic differences in state populations. Rather, wide variations in prescribing patterns are more likely to blame.