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Healthy Living: Carilion physician weighs in on opioid dangers, in the wake of Prince's death.

Carilion physician Dr. Paul Stromberg discusses potential dangers of opioids.
Carilion physician Dr. Paul Stromberg discusses potential dangers of opioids.(WDBJ)
Published: Jun. 6, 2016 at 7:11 AM EDT
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Prince's death is highlighting the prescription drug crisis across the country.

The pop star was found unresponsive in the elevator of his Paisley Park Estate back in April.

His autopsy revealed he died from an accidental Fentanyl overdose, an opioid much more powerful than other pain killers.

Opioid abuse is happening in our hometowns, as more people become addicted to prescription painkillers.

Dr. Paul Stromberg is an emergency medicine physician with Carilion Clinic.

He says that Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opiate analgesic similar to but more potent than morphine. It is typically used to treat patients with severe pain, or to manage pain after surgery.

Dr. Stromberg says that it's crucial for people to use Fentanyl or any opioid as directed, but if you are having issues with it, he recommends immediately talking with your physician.

Often, he says patients can get safer pain relief from over-the-counter medications.

And according to the Roanoke Area Youth Substance Abuse Coalition or RAYSAC, the Roanoke Valley was identified as having some of the highest rates of prescription drug abuse and/or heroin overdoses in the state.

Over the course of the next five years, the Roanoke Valley will receive $600,000.00 to help combat this dangerous epidemic