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Prescription pain medications such as opioids offer important treatment options for people with severe pain, often providing relief and allowing some to resume their daily activities. Unfortunately, these drugs can be misused, abused, or diverted to others for illicit use—problems that have become pervasive across the country. Each year approximately 4.5 million Americans use prescription pain medications for nonmedical purposes, contributing to more than 16,000 deaths annually.

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