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The prescription medicine OxyContin is displayed August 21, 2001 at a Walgreens drugstore in Brookline, MA. The powerful painkiller, manufactured to relieve the pain of seriously ill people, is being used by some addicts to achieve a high similar to a heroin rush. Its popularity among abusers of the drug has resulted in a string of pharmacy robberies nationwide. Armed robbers raid the pharmacies for the painkiller which has a street value of $40 for a 40mg pill.
Much of the recent attention on the nation's prescription drug epidemic has focused on corrupt or negligent doctors. But there's another significant problem in the medical community
Many physicians routinely prescribe powerful drugs like Vicodin and Oxycontin because they don't know how addictive and dangerous they can be. KPCC's Stephanie O'Neill reports on an effort by one large health provider to tackle this issue.