Legislators urged to act on painkiller addiction

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Nurses, doctors and even the state attorney general are urging an Indiana legislative panel to do something to curb what they say is an epidemic of addictions to prescription drugs.

Attorney General Greg Zoeller said Monday that prescription drug abuse in the U.S. is bigger than cocaine, heroin and hallucinogen abuse combined.

Doctors and nurses say addiction stems not only from deliberate abuse or black market sales, but by well-intentioned over-prescription of painkillers by physicians. They say many people get hooked on painkillers without even realizing it.

Witnesses said the state needs more specialists in pain control and more psychiatrists trained to treat both mental health and addiction. The head of Indiana University Medical School’s psychiatry department says there currently are only a few such doctors in the entire state.

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