Zohydro ER (extended release), the latest addition to the opiate prescription drug family, is a pure form of hydrocodone that many say is too dangerous to prescribe in light of the current epidemic of painkiller abuse and addiction in the United States. It was, however, approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) even though the current formulation is not at all tamper-resistant, according to The Washington Post. To address concerns over the potential for abuse of the drug, Purdue Pharma is working on a tamper-resistant version of the medication. This will make it more difficult for those who are intent on abusing the drug to crush the pills before snorting, swallowing or injecting them in order to get the full force of the medication that is designed to be released in smaller doses over time. Gary L. Stiles is the Senior Vice President of Research and Development at Purdue Pharma. In a statement, he said: “This is another step forward in our efforts to develop therapeutic options for use by chronic pain patients that are designed to be unattractive to drug seekers.”
Limiting Abuse Potential of Addictive Substances
The green light for a potent and pure form of an addictive drug was surprising to many. In fact, attorneys general from 28 states petitioned the FDA to reconsider their decision in December of last year. In light of the aggressive move toward legislation that limits access to addictive drugs in many states across the country, it seems counterintuitive that the FDA would allow the implementation of such a potentially dangerous drug. The hope is that the other measures put into place to mitigate the harm caused by abuse of painkillers (e.g., education of patients and prescribing physicians, new legislation designed to limit availability of these drugs unnecessarily, increased monitoring of patient prescriptions, etc.) will stop the abuse of this highly potent drug pending the release of a tamper-resistant version.
Is Your Loved One Addicted to a Prescription?
It’s not always easy to identify a prescription drug addiction in a loved one who has a legitimate prescription for a hydrocodone– or oxycodone-based pill. However, there are signs of prescription pill abuse that can indicate an addiction that requires treatment, including:
- Crushing pills and snorting them or using them in any way other than just simply swallowing them
- Using other drugs, including alcohol, in combination with the prescription medication
- Getting extra pills or multiple prescriptions from different doctors
- Lying about symptoms to increase the dose prescribed
Is your loved one in need of treatment for a prescription drug dependence? Don’t wait to act. Every day in addiction means a risk of overdose. Contact us today to learn more about our evidence-based treatment program here at Axis.