Painkiller prescriptions in Tennessee on the rise

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A report shows the number of prescriptions for painkillers in Tennessee is on the rise again, but state officials think they may be finally getting control of the epidemic.

The report to the General Assembly shows that pharmacists dispensed nearly 18.3 million prescriptions in Tennessee last year for controlled substances such as OxyContin and hydrocodone. That's a nearly 1.5 percent increase in painkiller prescriptions from the year before. The previous year showed a 23 percent increase.

The report by the state Department of Health shows that hydrocodone is the No. 1 used painkiller in Tennessee. The anti-anxiety drug alprazolam, which is marketed under the brand name Xanax, ranked next in number of prescriptions filled for controlled substances.

Tennessee has one of the highest prescription drug abuse rates in the nation.

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