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In Vt. appearance, US Attorney General Eric Holder calls prescription drug abuse epidemic

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says prescription drug abuse in America is at epidemic proportions and taming it will take more than law enforcement.

At a Friday conference in Montpelier, Vt., Holder said the U.S. has seen a 400 percent increase from 1998 to 2008 in treatment admissions for people abusing prescription painkillers. Also, he said, new research shows that the number of people trying them for non-medical purposes now exceeds the number of people smoking marijuana for the first time.

To reduce abuse, he said, will require a comprehensive approach of sound regulatory policies, educational outreach, and prevention and drug treatment programs.