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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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Almost one-quarter of pregnant women enrolled in Medicaid in 2007 filled a prescription for opioids, a new study finds. The risks of opioids to a developing fetus are largely unknown, The New York Times reports.

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Following the decision by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to order a ban on prescribing and dispensing the pure hydrocodone painkiller Zohydro, Vermont’s governor announced an emergency order to make it more difficult for doctors to prescribe the drug.

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Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, the state’s largest health insurer, announced it has reduced prescriptions of narcotic painkillers by about 6.6 million pills in the past 18 months.

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The Food and Drug Administration has approved a handheld device that delivers a single dose of the opioid overdose antidote naloxone, The New York Times reports.

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Contrary to the advice of many medical groups, more emergency departments are giving headache patients prescriptions for powerful narcotic painkillers, according to a new study.

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