Abuse-Deterrent Formulations Don’t Solve the Opioid Crisis

The State Senate today passed a bill (S.4532/A.4677) that will put more money in the pockets of drug manufacturers, increase prescription drug costs for consumers, and do nothing to address the growing opioid crisis in New York.

Drug manufacturers like Purdue Pharma, which has agreed to pay billions for its role in the opioid epidemic, created abuse-deterrent opioid formulations in an effort to market the drugs appear less likely to be misused or abused.

Unfortunately, the reality is these abuse-deterrent formulations are just expensive gimmicks that numerous studies have shown are not actually abuse-proof. Actually, studies show the majority of people who were abusing opioids and were switched to the new formulation reported moving on to heroin.[1]

In 2016, the CDC issued national standards for prescription painkillers, urging doctors to avoid prescribing opiate painkillers for patients with chronic pain, determining that the risks from such drugs far outweigh the benefits for most people.

Prescription drug manufacturers need to be held accountable. State lawmakers should follow federal guidelines by discouraging the use of these highly addictive drugs, rather than provide another avenue for their continued use.

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[1]  Cicero TJ, Ellis MS. Abuse-deterrent formulations and the prescription opioid abuse epidemic in the United States: lessons learned from OxyContin. JAMA Psychiatry 2015;72:424-430