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Critics’ calls for tougher pain pills resisted

A sampling of the 18,000 prescription pills stolen from a Hyannis pharmacy last year.
A sampling of the 18,000 prescription pills stolen from a Hyannis pharmacy last year. Credit: Yarmouth Police Department

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WASHINGTON — In just one Cape Cod community, the toll is numbingly familiar. A father and son steal 18,000 opiate pills from a pharmacy. A grandfather discovers his 22-year-old grandson passed out with a syringe in his arm. The deputy police chief’s own nephew becomes addicted to oxycodone. The pharmaceutical industry has developed pills that are strongly resistant to being crushed — and are therefore difficult for addicts to abuse — but industry profit margins and a ponderous federal bureaucracy have kept them from widespread adoption in the market.

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