Though painkillers and prescription medication are created and sold to treat real medical afflictions, it is common knowledge that they often fall into the wrong hands. Misusing prescription pills is a rapidly growing form of substance abuse that is taking place across the United States. But, is there anything that big-name pharmaceutical companies can do to stop this abuse? The answer, apparently, is yes.
This month, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a report on “abuse deterrent opioids,” which, the document states, is intended to outline the agency’s stance on a “relatively new science,” and encourage companies to invest in the development of painkillers and other medications that may be more difficult to misuse.
Some of the “abuse-deterring properties” reviewed by the FDA include additives that limit the euphoric sensation a user may feel, as well as a change in the physical formulation that makes it harder to alter the state of a pill.
“Pharmaceutical companies have a societal obligation to make their products safer,” wrote Michael Barnes, the executive director of the Center for Lawful Access and Abuse Deterrence, wrote in an op-ed for The Hill. “The makers of two of the most commonly abused pain medications, OxyContin and Opana, have […] developed new products that are less prone than their prior versions to crushing, chewing or dissolving – three common methods of prescription drug abuse that often result in overdose and death.”
Though these advancements may certainly help combat the abuse of prescription pills, it’s unlikely that these deterrent products – which are undoubtedly more costly – will replace other forms of medication in the near future.
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