Magazine article USA TODAY

Are New Anti-Abuse Technologies Enough?

Magazine article USA TODAY

Are New Anti-Abuse Technologies Enough?

Article excerpt

The U.S. societal costs of opioid misuse, dependence, and abuse have been estimated to be as high as $100,000,000, although technological innovations show promise in helping to deter opioid abuse.

The Food and Drug Administration, Washington, D.C., has approved seven opioid formulations with abuse-deterrent properties, and others are in development or awaiting approval. Advanced technologies make the new pills difficult to crush or create a gooey consistency when crushed, which deters users from inhaling or injecting the drugs for a faster, more intense high. Other formulations combine opioids with naloxone or naltrexone, which blocks the effects of opioids if the pills are crushed rather than orally administered.

Some specialists have expressed concern that government regulations often hinder the adoption of these types of anti-abuse technologies. For instance, newer tamper-resistant drugs may be excluded from state Medicaid formularies, while lengthy FDA review and approval processes may delay the rollout of promising new innovations.

'There is no single, simple solution to the U.S. opioid crisis, which has been years in the making. However, new anti-abuse technologies are one way to help prevent diversion and misuse," says Bryn Wesch, CFO of Novus Medical Detox Center, New Port Richey, Fla. "Federal and state regulations should be continually assessed and updated to ensure they promote access to the most effective and innovative treatments, and FDA processes should be analyzed and accelerated where possible. …

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