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Hospitals and state licensing boards in Minnesota are teaming up to try to cut down on drug thefts in hospitals and nursing homes. A coalition organized by the Minnesota Hospital Association and state Health Department is trying to close loopholes in drug-handling procedures in order to make it more difficult to steal drugs.

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Prices for prescription painkillers sold illegally are sky-high, according to data from federal law enforcement agencies. These prices are creating a fast-growing street market for prescription painkillers.

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Prison officials throughout the country are finding that Suboxone, a drug used to treat opioid addiction, is being smuggled in through ingenious means, including greeting cards, children’s artwork and under stamps.

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The skyrocketing growth in the number of Americans addicted to prescription drugs is due to easy accessibility and the diminished perception of risk, the Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy told a Senate subcommittee on Tuesday.

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Stimulant drugs designed to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder are not as likely as prescription painkillers to be diverted for non-medical purposes, a survey of 10,000 adults, ages 18 to 49, finds. Almost 25 percent of those surveyed said they had used prescription opioids for non-medical purposes, compared with about 8 percent who said they used stimulant medications for non-medical reasons.

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Georgia has become the latest state to approve a prescription monitoring program designed to help stop the abuse of opioid painkillers.

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The rate of misuse of prescription pain medications jumped 40 percent in New York City from 2002 to 2009, according to the city’s Health Department.

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Florida’s House and Senate have unanimously passed a bill designed to shut down “pill mills,” pain clinics that cater to people shopping for opioid medications. Florida Governor Rick Scott, who has long opposed the drug monitoring database that is part of the legislation, said he will sign the bill into law.

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An increase in heroin use in Ohio in the past six months is due partly to the rise in addiction to opioid medication, according to a new report by the Ohio Department of Drug and Alcohol Addiction Services. The report says that people who become addicted to opioids may turn to heroin when they can no longer afford the pills.

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An Oklahoma doctor who treats patients with opiate addiction by prescribing buprenorphine says federal restrictions on the number of prescriptions he can write for the drug are hurting patients.

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