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Prescription pain meds

6:41 PM, Apr 6, 2012   |    comments
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NEW YORK (AP) - Sales of prescription painkillers are exploding in new areas, and experts are worried that's creating a wave of addiction.

Pharmacies, hospitals and physicians dispensed the equivalent of 69 tons of pure oxycodone and 42 tons of pure hydrocodone in 2010. That's enough to give 40 5-mg Percocets and 24 5-mg Vicodins to every man, woman and child in the United States.

An analysis by The Associated Press shows distribution of the two drugs is booming from New York's Staten Island to Santa Fe., N.M. Some places saw effective per-capita sales increase sixteenfold between 2000 and 2010.

In Georgia sales per capita tripled.

Oxycodone is the key ingredient in OxyContin, Percocet and Percodan. Hydrocodone is in Vicodin, Lortab and Norco.

Georgia lawmakers have passed a bill in the House and Senate to crack down on the problem. It would make it more difficult for pain clinics to operate in the area and make it a felony for them to operate without a license.

The bill that is expected to become law next year will hand licensing control of pain clinics over to the Georgia Composite Medical Board.

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