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Prescription drugs are Indian County monster'



Health officials on northwestern Montana's Blackfeet Indian Reservation say only about two of 12 patients at the local treatment center are addicted to alcohol. The rest, they say, are hooked on prescription drugs. Indian Country officials are now calling prescription drug abuse their "newest monster," the latest in a series of chemical scourges that started with alcohol, transFormed to illegal methamphetamine and is now evolving to pills. Erma Skunkcap, a substance abuse counselor in Browning, said "It's affecting everyone." Many of the patients buy the drugs illegally, grind them up and either snort them or inject them intravenously. As a result, Indian health officials say that instances of hepatitis C are rising a disease that in some instances requires $15,000 a year in prescription drugs to treat.


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