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The Food and Drug Administration has issued a safety alert about fentanyl painkiller patches, warning that young children are at risk of death if they are accidentally exposed to the patches.

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A new study that links opium use with serious health problems, including cancer, circulatory diseases and respiratory problems, has implications for opium-derived painkillers such as morphine and codeine, CNN reports.

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Scientists are working to make prescription painkillers and other commonly misused drugs “unabusable” by reformulating them, according to Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

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Legislative leaders in New York, along with the offices of Governor Andrew Cuomo and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, are negotiating measures designed to curb “doctor shopping” for prescription painkillers.

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A law in Washington State requires doctors to refer patients taking high doses of opioids for evaluation by a pain specialist if their underlying condition does not improve. The law passed last year is aimed at reducing the epidemic of prescription drug abuse.

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California’s prescription drug monitoring program is not effective in curbing prescription drug abuse, because enrollment in the program is optional, and funding for the program is drying up, according to The New York Times.

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A program in Philadelphia that supplies the opioid overdose antidote naloxone to people addicted to drugs, their spouses and other laypeople, and trains them in how to use it, is saving lives, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

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Law enforcement officials are reporting a rise in armed robberies of pharmacies, by drug dealers and people desperate for prescription painkillers, ABC News reports.

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Sales of oxycodone and hydrocodone are sharply rising in areas of the United States where these prescription painkillers were not as popular in the past, according to an analysis by the Associated Press. The rise in sales is driven by an aging population with pain issues, as well as an increase in addiction, experts say.

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A federal bill introduced Thursday would link states’ prescription drug monitoring programs. The proposed nationwide system would allow physicians to see if a new patient has a history of drug abuse in another state before writing a prescription.

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