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Suicide attempts, in which drugs played a role, jumped 49 percent among women ages 50 and older from 2005 to 2009, according to a new federal report. The report, prepared by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, found that 16,757 women 50 and older had a drug-related suicide attempt in 2009, compared with 11,235 in 2005.

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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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Florida officials met with health care executives last week to discuss how to protect babies born to women addicted to prescription drugs. An estimated 1,300 babies were treated for drug withdrawal in Florida in 2010, a 30 percent jump from the previous year.

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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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A new law in Indiana will make it easier for people to drop off their unused or expired drugs to pharmacies and health clinics. Until now, a police officer had to be present when a pharmacy collected unused drugs.

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It will come as no surprise to anyone reading this that we have a prescription drug problem in the United States. As I see it, however, we are not devoting our attention to the real root of the problem.

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All of us who are passionate about reducing drug abuse cannot ignore the growing dangers of prescription drug abuse, particularly among teens and young adults. By preventing drug abuse where it starts, we can make a tremendous difference in the life of our nation: one community, one family and one child at a time.

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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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Prescription drug abuse is a growing national epidemic. In a recent presentation, Dr. Leonard Paulozzi of the CDC reported that the number of unintentional overdose deaths per year involving opioid pain relievers nearly quadrupled from 1999 to 2007, rising from 2,900 to 11,500.

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Fatal overdoses of prescription drugs are having a devastating effect in Ohio, The New York Times reports. In the last decade, fatal overdoses have more than quadrupled and are now more common than car crashes as a cause of accidental death in the state.

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