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Painkiller Abuse Skyrockets Nationwide

Brian Kelly, KMOX News
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Prescription Drus 1, Getty Images, photo by Robert A Pears
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ST. LOUIS, MO (KMOX/AP) – As the abuse of painkillers including oxycodone, percocet and percodan skyrockets across the country, Missouri is now the only state that’s not taken a key step to curb the growth.

Nationwide, pharmacies received and ultimately dispensed the equivalent of 69 tons of pure oxycodone and 42 tons of pure hydrocodone in 2010, the last year for which statistics are available. That’s enough to give 40 5-mg Percocets and 24 5-mg Vicodins to every person in the United States. The DEA data records shipments from distributors to pharmacies, hospitals, practitioners and teaching institutions. The drugs are eventually dispensed and sold to patients, but the DEA does not keep track of how much individual patients receive.

The Midwest DEA’s Scott Collier says we’ve seen a ‘dramatic’ increase in the sales of those drugs in this area, but Missouri lawmakers have refused to establish a prescription drug monitoring program.

Collier tells KMOX those programs curb abuse, by allowing doctors to more closely monitor their patients’ drug purchases.

“They can determine if a patient need some help is being seen or getting prescriptions from multiple doctors in that area which in turns gives the physician information that this person probably is a drug addict and they need some help.”

Collier says now that Missouri stands alone, crooks will likely gravitate to the state.
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(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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