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Advocates say the need to curb the abuse of prescription (Rx) opiates is more urgent than ever, due to a growing epidemic of Rx overdoses from pain medication in Massachusetts and across the country, according The Boston Globe.

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A growing number of people switch back and forth between prescription painkillers and heroin, experts tell The New York Times. They call prescription opiates “heroin lite.”

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Top headlines of the week from Friday, January 31- Thursday, February 6, 2014.

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The death rate from opiate overdoses among Veterans Affairs patients is almost double the national average, according to a report by the Center for Investigative Reporting. Prescriptions for hydrocodone, oxycodone, methadone and morphine have jumped 270 percent in the past 12 years among VA patients, the report found.

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Prescription drug abuse is a growing national epidemic. In a recent presentation, Dr. Leonard Paulozzi of the CDC reported that the number of unintentional overdose deaths per year involving opioid pain relievers nearly quadrupled from 1999 to 2007, rising from 2,900 to 11,500.

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As we all know, drug abuse is costly—to individuals, families, communities and our society as a whole. And like addiction itself, the strategies for lessening its impact are often complex and necessarily diverse.

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The addictions field has lost a pioneer: G. Alan Marlatt, Ph.D., renowned researcher and harm-reduction advocate, died on March 14 at age 69.

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How many youth in the juvenile justice system have mental health or alcohol and drug disorders? New research on nearly 10,000 youth in 18 states and over 50 jurisdictions suggests that the answer can vary a lot, depending on what part of the juvenile justice system you’re talking about.

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Budget deficits bedevil nearly every state, yet six states have not raised their beer taxes in 50 years or more, according to Marin Institute’s Neglected & Outdated Beer Taxes Map. Wyoming, in fact, hasn’t raised its beer tax since 1935, when Franklin D. Roosevelt was serving his first term as president.

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A new study led by a researcher at Indiana University suggests that drinking problems in teens is not “just a phase,” but strongly predicts they

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