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DEA Agents Search Walgreens Drugtores, Distribution Center In Pain Pill Abuse Investigation

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-- A new media report says that federal drug agents searched six Walgreen stores in Florida and a distribution center there as part of investigation into prescription pain pill abuse.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Drug Enforcement Administration is looking at whether Walgreen allowed a suspiciously large number of pain pill sales, which agents believe could indicate that they are being diverted to drug dealers and addicts.

Michael Polzin, a spokesman for the country's largest drugstore operator, said the Deerfield, Ill., company is cooperating with the DEA.

The Journal reported in an update to its website Thursday that the stores are located in southern and central Florida, and the distribution center is in Jupiter, Fla.

Earlier this year, the DEA moved to suspend the sale of controlled substances by two CVS pharmacies in the Orlando area, and the shipment of them from Cardinal Health Inc.'s Lakeland, Fla.-based center that supplied the stores.

The DEA says the pharmacies were dispensing the painkiller oxycodone far in excess of legitimate needs. CVS-Caremark Corp., the second-largest pharmacy chain after Walgreen, has said it has taken steps to reduce the prescriptions.

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