HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Drug Crackdowns
Pubdate: Wed, 20 Feb 2002
Source: Wall Street Journal (US)
Copyright: 2002 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Author: Will Pinkston


Prompted by a spate of overdose deaths tied to abuse of painkiller 
OxyContin, several states are seeking to crack down on illegal prescription 

Lawmakers in Florida, Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania are considering a 
range of measures, including proposals to tighten physicians' standards for 
prescribing addictive pills, set up prescription-tracking systems to catch 
fraudulent users and strengthen sentencing laws for offenders. Maine has 
adopted tougher penalties for illegally selling OxyContin and other 
prescription drugs, according to the National Conference of State 
Legislatures, while government studies were launched in Louisiana and 
Virginia to study possible legislative action.

Reports of widespread OxyContin abuse first surfaced in Appalachia, where 
users were crushing the pill, then snorting or injecting it. The Drug 
Enforcement Agency noted the painkiller was a probable factor in about 300 
overdose deaths since January 2000. OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP, 
Stamford, Conn., says it supports measures that would more closely track 
patients seeking multiple prescriptions, and says it is developing an 
abuse-resistant painkiller.

- -- Will Pinkston
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