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The weekend death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman from an apparent heroin overdose is focusing renewed attention on a dangerous drug that seems to be making a resurgence.

    The most recent numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention find that the number of recorded heroin overdose deaths nearly doubled in the decade between 2000 and 2010.

    Authorities say a number of factors are fueling the use of heroin -- including relatively low prices, and a less demonized image than the drug once had.

    Last month, the governor of Vermont devoted almost his entire State of the State address to the state's heroin problem, calling on the Legislature to pass laws encouraging treatment and to seek ideas on the best way to keep people from becoming addicted.

    One expert who studies substance abuse at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale says the striking thing about heroin's most recent incarnation is that a drug that was once largely confined to major cities is spreading into suburban and rural towns across America. Jim Hall says it's being used predominantly by young adults between 18 and 29. He says the spread has been the most rapid one seen in drug abuse since cocaine and crack in the mid-1980s.  (Associated Press)

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