Sales of prescription opioid painkillers have quadrupled since 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Rich Pedroncelli/AP hide caption

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Anne Koller closes her eyes as an oncology nurse attaches a line for chemotherapy to a port in her chest. Koller typically spends three to six hours getting each treatment. Sarah Jane Tribble/WCPN hide caption

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Schedule 2 narcotics Morphine Sulfate, OxyContin and Opana. Liquefied as an injectable, Opana has been connected to a major abuse problem in rural southern Indiana. Rich Pedroncelli/AP hide caption

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A nurse in 1938 checks the amount of insulin in a needle. For many decades, the only insulin available to people with diabetes came from the pancreases of cattle or pigs. Insulin from animals is still available outside the U.S. — and cheaper than a recombinant DNA version. Bettmann/Corbis hide caption

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Swiss drugmaker Novartis' logo is seen behind scaffolding at the company's plant in the northern Swiss town of Stein, shown in January. The company's "biosimilar" drug Zarxio has received FDA approval. Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters/Landov hide caption

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Meredith Rizzo/NPR

A recent study found a brief delay in peak growth spurt among boys who took ADHD stimulants for at least three years, but no significant effect on their ultimate height. iStockphoto hide caption

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California's Board of Pharmacy is considering requiring all pharmacies in the state to provide bilingual labels on prescription medicines. Basecamp Imaging/iStockphoto hide caption

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Traditional warning labels on medicine boxes tend to be long on confusing language, critics say, but short on helpful numbers. iStockphoto hide caption

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Katherine Streeter for NPR

Ordinary spoons vary widely in size and shape. Confusing regular spoons for accurate measurements of teaspoons and tablespoons can lead to accidental overdoses. Meredith Rizzo/NPR hide caption

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Brian Micalizzi, a pharmacist at Children's Medical Center in Dallas, prepares an antibiotic prescribed to a patient in the emergency department. Juan Pulido/Courtesy of Children's Medical Center hide caption

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Xanax and Valium, prescribed to treat anxiety, mood disorders and insomnia, can be deadly when mixed with other sedatives. Dean812/Flickr hide caption

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Pill bottles in a locked room deep inside the building that houses the Los Angeles County Health Authority Law Enforcement Task Force. Tracy Weber/ProPublica hide caption

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Ground zero for a new approach to prescription drug disposal. iStockphoto hide caption

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Unless it's strep throat, antibiotics are unlikely to help you get over a sore throat. iStockphoto.com hide caption

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