One State’s Clever Solution to Painkiller Abuse

Lawmakers locally and nationally have been struggling to find ways to combat the growing problem of painkiller abuse, which kills 44 Americans daily.

Strategies have focused on expanding access to drugs that treat overdoses and addiction, making painkillers harder to abuse and cutting down on prescriptions for opioids.

But Illinois is trying something completely different.

In August, Springfield passed a law that sets up a pilot program in which the state pays pharmacies to dole out painkillers in lockable bottles.

The goal is to keep people who weren’t given the prescription from stealing the drugs for personal use, called diversion. An example is a teen stealing a parent’s prescription for a painkiller.

Health officials say it is a common method that drug users employ.