ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) _ Gov. Mark Dayton is announcing $700,000 in grants to tackle opioid abuse and new guidelines for doctors prescribing the narcotic painkillers.

Thursday's announcement was the latest in a multi-pronged effort to tackle what public health officials in Minnesota and nationwide have deemed a crisis. State data shows opioid overdose deaths increased by more than 600 percent between 20 and 2016.

The grants will go to eight rural clinics and hospitals Minnesota. New data shows many rural counties receive more painkiller prescriptions per capita.

And the Minnesota Department of Health's new prescribing guidelines encourage health professionals to limit long-term opioid prescriptions and better monitor patients in pain.

Much of the focus at the Legislature has been on a so-called penny-a-pill tax on pharmaceutical companies to fund prevention and substance abuse treatment.

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