The FDA has approved another tool in the arsenal of drugs that are highly addictive. This drug, marketed as tamper resistant seriously adds to the underlying issue of opioid abuse–addiction.
This new drug marketed as tamper resistant to being crushed and injected does nothing to avoid overdoses due to pill ingestion. The reduction in overdoses due to injecting and crushing the drug is positive. But this tamper resistance does not reduce the number of people who quickly grow addicted to this powerful new opiate. The sad realty is that most people who overdose from opiate medication do so in pill form. To date, more people die of accidental overdoses due to ingesting opiates than from an automobile accident and other motor vehicle accidents.
The potency of this pill and the one approved last spring creates grave concern. This pill (Targiniq ER) now ranks as one of the most powerful opiates available. Targinq ER combines a long-acting opioid analgesic oxycodone with naloxone. The naloxone is used to counteract euphoric effects of the oxycodone. The President of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, Dr. Andrew Kolodny, said in a number of interviews that the best way to gain control of the current epidemic is to stop creating NEW ADDICTIONS. Therefore, responsibility rests heavily upon the shoulders of prescribing doctors and dentists. Treatment providers need to be cognoscente of the dilemmas attending to use of these drugs and their long-term risks.
This latest drug approval comes only months after the FDA approved the use of Zohydro, another long-acting form of hydrocodone. Despite alarms sounded by doctors’ groups and even some governors and state legislatures, the FDA has moved ahead with approval. In an attempt to slow the availability of these powerful drugs, the DEA has reclassified the variety of forms of hydrocodone, such as Vicodin. They now have been placed in the category of substances with the highest potential for harm. Appropriate use of these narcotics remains for end of life treatment and for those few chronic pain cases that do not respond to other forms of treatment. Such patients should by the nature of their condition and chronic pain be closely monitored.
Hydrocodone combination pills have been in a less restricted category since 1970. Todays hybrid drugs are five to ten times more powerful than Vicodin. The picture is perfectly clear with a view of the data. Since 1999, overdose deaths have gone from 4,000 a year to over 17,000 in 2010. These drugs are the most commonly prescribed drugs in the U.S.!
Treatment Providers Hold a Key to Saving Lives
Treatment providers are part of those prescribing and perhaps over prescribing opiates. The problems attending opiate addiction and pain management are real, but the stark truth is that opiates are not a solution for those suffering from chronic pain.
Furthermore, Treatment Providers need to be mindful that prescribing stabilizing medications like buprenorphine, methadone and naltrexone cannot be the sole answer to treating opioid addiction. These drugs are one tool that can be used short term to help stabilize patients as other forms of addiction therapies are simultaneously employed. The ASAM states that combining all resources medical as well as “customized behavioral therapies and other support services for patients and families” is required to address the opioid addiction.
Technology Offers a New Element of Recovery Tools
Additionally, Recovery Passport Solutions offers Treatment Providers a range of unique tools to help opioid addicts move passed their cravings with comprehensive therapies that are accessible 24/7, 365 days a year. Behavioral therapies, games, goal setting, life skills, mood trackers, networking tools, and so much more allow addicts to gain control over their recovery. These additional tools make it easy for a whole demographic tied to electronics to translate their recovery and positive actions through tools on mobile devices and computers.