Wyoming Rx Drug Deaths Doubled in Past 4 Years

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The Wyoming Department of Health says newly compiled statistics show deaths in the state linked to prescription drug abuse more than doubled from 2005 to 2008.

The department said Tuesday that a review of official death records in its Vital Statistics Services Program found a total of 50 prescription drug deaths in 2005 and 103 in 2008. There were 90 such deaths in 2006 and 96 in 2007.

Some Wyoming authorities have said they've seen a growing prescription drug abuse problem in the state. But the health department's new numbers are the first statewide look at the death
toll.

Meanwhile, the Division of Criminal Investigation says it has seen a 400% increase in prescription drug diversion investigations during the last four years. Division deputy director Kebin Haller said it's not uncommon to see 80-milligram OxyContin pills selling for $100 on the street.

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