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The use of heroin has increased in Washington after the state toughened their laws on buying prescription drugs. This finding is based on research conducted at the University of Washington’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute.

Recently, Washington passed laws making it much tougher to abuse commonly prescribed addictive opiates such as oxycodone. Patients will now need to see pain-management specialists and take random drug tests to receive these prescription drugs.

Caleb Banta-Green, a researcher at the university who previously served as President Obama’s senior science adviser at the Office of National Drug Control Policy, says that due to the tougher laws on buying prescription drugs, the number of people who abuse prescription opiates has decreased but at the same time, has increased the demand for heroin in the state.

In Washington, positive heroin test found at state labs increased from 842 cases in 2007 to 2,251 in 2012.

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