Vermont officials plan to gather this week for a seminar on a growing problem in the state: the diversion and abuse of prescription drugs.
State figures show that in the first nine months of 2008, 67 people died of overdoses of illicit drugs, prescription drugs, alcohol or some combination of them.
In 13 cases, overdosing on Methadone, a prescription pain reliever often used to treat addiction to another narcotic, was cited as the cause of death.
Law enforcement officials say the pain reliever OxyContin and Suboxone, a buprenorphine-based drug used to treat opiate addiction, also are being diverted and abused in large quantities.
The seminar is set for Thursday in Waterbury.