Read about the outlook for state fiscal conditions, the effect of the drop in gas prices on states, the ethics of gifts, the debate over motorcycle helmets and state efforts to support home caregivers.Read a rundown on the top public policy issues facing state lawmakers in 2015, state-private sector partnerships for infrastructure, e-cigarettes and taxes and dealing with cuts to mental health programs.
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Prescription drug abuse, misuse and overdoses are on the rise. Drug overdose death rates have increased fivefold since 1990. In 2008, drug overdoses killed 36,450 Americans, nearly 15,000 of whom died from prescription opioid painkillers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone and methadone.
These drugs also were responsible for nearly half a million emergency room visits in 2009. According to the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, prescription drug misuse, abuse and fraud cost private health insurers almost $25 billion a year.
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