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Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown has introduced a bill designed to cut down on the abuse of prescription opioids. The bill would limit the number of doctors from which “high-risk” Medicaid beneficiaries could receive prescriptions, as well as pharmacies from which they could obtain opioids.

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Prescriptions for the painkiller hydrocodone/acetaminophen have increased dramatically, from 121 million doses in 2006 to 131 million today, a new national survey shows.

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Researchers at companies that make opioid painkillers are trying to make a “safe” drug that is resistant to abuse, in an effort to combat what the government has called an epidemic of prescription painkiller abuse.

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An estimated 27,500 people died in 2007 from unintentional drug overdoses, many of them involving prescription opioids, according to a report that recommends doctors try other pain control options before prescribing opioid medications.

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As part of the new government plan to reduce prescription drug abuse, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is asking manufacturers of prescription painkillers to create materials for consumers about how to safely use and dispose of opioids.

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The majority of people with substance dependence issues say they have poor oral health, according to a study from Boston University.

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As the problem of prescription drug abuse grows, an increasing number of babies are being born dependent on painkillers, The New York Times reports.

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More comprehensive education is needed for opioid prescribers, two experts write this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). They also call for adoption of guidelines on opioid prescribing from the American Academy of Pain Medicine.

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A new study finds higher doses of opioids are associated with increased risk of death by accidental overdose from these powerful painkillers.

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