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New on the streets: Gabapentin, a drug for nerve pain, and a new target of abuse

It's not a controlled substance, but taking large quantities of gabapentin can provide a high similar to opioids. It's not clear what the long term effects of such use are…

ATHENS, Ohio — On April 5, Ciera Smith sat in a car parked on the gravel driveway of the Rural Women’s Recovery Program here with a choice to make: go to jail or enter treatment for her addiction.

Smith, 22, started abusing drugs when she was 18, enticed by the “good time” she and her friends found in smoking marijuana. She later turned to addictive painkillers, then anti-anxiety medications such as Xanax and eventually Suboxone, a narcotic often used to replace opioids when treating addiction.

Before stepping out of the car, she decided she needed one more high before treatment. She reached into her purse and then swallowed a handful of gabapentin pills.

Last December, Ohio’s Board of Pharmacy began reporting sales of gabapentin prescriptions in its regular monitoring of controlled substances. The drug, which is not

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