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Abuse-deterrent opioids are prescription painkillers that have properties that make it more difficult (not impossible) for people to use the drugs in unintended manners, such as snorting or injecting. There has been a lot of criticism in recent years in light of the American opioid epidemic, that pharmaceutical companies have not done enough to mitigate the dangers of their products. While there are abuse-deterrent opioids on the market, there is nothing requiring drug companies to modify their drug formulations for combating abuse.

Part of the problem with abuse-deterrent opioids is that they are only available in brand-name narcotics, such as OxyContin ® (oxycodone). Brand-name prescription drugs are always more expensive than generic forms, and many health insurance plans will refuse to cover brand-name drugs whenever a generic is available.

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that a “black box” warning would be given to immediate-release prescription opioids. Additionally, the FDA called upon generic drug manufacturers to redesign their medications for inclusion of abuse-deterrent properties, HealthDay reports.

“For the millions of Americans who suffer from significant pain, and the health systems that serve them, generic opioids can be an appropriate and affordable option for patient care,” said FDA Commissioner Robert Califf, M.D, in a statement. “We recognize that abuse-deterrent technology is still evolving and is only one piece of a much broader strategy to combat the problem of opioid abuse. But strongly encouraging innovation to increase access to generic forms of abuse-deterrent opioid medications is an important element in that strategy.” 

With as many as 28,000 people losing their life from opioid overdoses each year, it is vital that drug manufacturers do their part in the fight to save lives. There are about 44 overdose deaths linked to prescription opioids everyday in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The American opioid epidemic, above all else, requires addiction treatment services. It could be argued, that making it harder to abuse drugs does little to combat the root problem – addiction. If you or a loved one is battling opioid addiction, please contact Hope By The Sea. We can help you turn your life around, living a life free from all mind altering addictive substances.