When it comes to painkillers, the United States consumes 80 percent of the world’s supply, according to American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians. More Americans now die from painkillers than from heroin and cocaine combined according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among military veterans, the problem of painkiller abuse is especially striking. Researchers at the Department of Veterans Affairs published a study two years ago showing the fatal overdose rate among VA patients is nearly double the national average. And yet the department continues prescribing veterans increasing amounts of powerful painkillers, enabling their addictions and hindering their recovery from war.
Adithya Sambamurthy is a video producer for Reveal, with a background in photojournalism and documentary film. He joined Reveal after working as a staff photographer for The Bay Citizen, a nonprofit journalism organization that merged with The Center for Investigative Reporting in 2012. Sambamurthy previously worked on documentaries for National Geographic, PBS FRONTLINE/World and numerous independent productions. He also worked as a photojournalist at the San Jose Mercury News in California; The News-Press of Fort Myers, Florida; and the St. Petersburg (now Tampa Bay) Times. Since joining Reveal, he has produced, shot and edited stories for the website, as well as for a number of Reveal's broadcast and online partners, including the PBS NewsHour, KQED public television and ABC News. Sambamurthy has been nominated for a national Emmy Award, shared in a George Foster Peabody Award and received commendations from the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors.More by Adithya Sambamurthy