Drug Abuse One of Indiana's Growing Concerns (NBC33 VIDEO)

By Eric DeFreeuw

August 29, 2013 Updated Aug 29, 2013 at 6:27 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.nbc33.com) – One of Indiana’s fastest growing problems is the misuse and abuse of prescription medications.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller spoke today at Citizen Square about what he calls a "growing epidemic." According to the State Department of Health, 718 Hoosiers died from accidental drug overdoses in 2011, which is up from 654 the year before.

To bring awareness to this growing problem, the Attorney General's office launched its new "Bitter Pill" website to offer resources and advice for those seeking help.

"We've got to address this from both the prescribers - the physicians who prescribe some of these highly addictive drugs - as well as the patients,” Zoeller points out. “I think people need to learn that it is OK to live with a little pain. We can't try to have a pain-free life as we get older. So there has to be, let's say a lot of education throughout our community."

The problem has become so bad, it is having a visible impact in other areas as well.

"The number of pharmacy robberies in Indiana has increased, and now we lead the country in pharmacy robberies - not something really to be proud of. But it shows the symptom of an addiction in Indiana to particularly opioids. Some of the ones that are most addictive."

Zoeller also defined prescription drug abuse as the use of medications for purposes other than their intended prescription.

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