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Policy changes in Florida have led to a drop in opioid prescriptions, according to a new government report. Prescription rates for opioids remain high in some states, including Alabama, West Virginia and Tennessee.

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The governors of five New England states announced Tuesday they are working together to tackle heroin and prescription painkiller abuse, The New York Times reports.

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A North Carolina opioid overdose prevention program has succeeded in dramatically cutting overdose deaths in one county, according to Medscape. The program is now being rolled out statewide.

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Not all parts of the federal government agree on how to approach the issue of prescription painkiller abuse, according to the Associated Press.

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Use of narcotic painkillers and anti-anxiety medications among elderly patients is rising sharply, according to an examination of Medicare data by USA Today. The newspaper found older patients are using the medications for longer periods than in the past.

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Two California counties have sued five drug manufacturers, accusing them of causing the country’s prescription drug abuse epidemic. The suit alleges the companies waged a “campaign of deception” in order to increase painkiller sales.

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Health care providers must expand their use of medications to treat opioid addiction, in order to reduce overdose deaths, according to government health officials. Misperceptions have resulted in limited access to the medications, they argue in The New England Journal of Medicine.

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An advisory panel of the Food and Drug Administration voted Tuesday against approving a combination morphine-oxycodone painkiller, NPR reports. The drug, Moxduo, would be the first medication to combine both opioids in one capsule.

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Health insurers should use state prescription monitoring databases to reduce overdoses from abuse of opioids and other prescription drugs, according to a new report.

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The surge in the use of heroin and prescription opioids is resulting in more deaths than violent crimes and car crashes in many communities, law enforcement officials said this week. They met in Washington, D.C. to discuss the problem and possible solutions.

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