FDA Aims to Combat Opioid Addiction With Stronger Warnings

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently announced that it would be issuing stronger warnings to the labels of prescription painkillers in an effort to combat a burgeoning opiate-addicted population.

People will begin to see new safety warnings on their prescription opioid medications as part of the FDA’s increased efforts to combat drug abuse and misuse. The change affects the entire class of opioid pain medications, and is “IR” (immediate release).

Despite its recent announcement, the FDA continues to fail Americans – it recently approved Zohydro, yet another painkiller that is easy to crush and snort. The FDA also fails to put Black Box warning labels on all opiates and benzodiazepams, specifically warning of the lethality of combining pain pills with anti-anxiety drugs.

Out of all overdose deaths:

  • 70% are tied to opiates
  • 30% are tied to benzos

In addition, there should be Black Box warnings for prescriptions to minors. It seems as though prescriptions to pregnant women are now being recognized as a serious public health hazard.

The FDA says it has been “reassessing its approach to opioid medications” in order to prevent misuse, abuse, addiction, overdose, and death while still providing patients with the pain relief they need, but there is still much work to be done. According to the CDC, 46 people die every day from a prescription painkiller overdose in the United States.

The CDC also states that, between 2002 and 2013, heroin-related overdose deaths nearly quadrupled, adding that the “strongest risk factor for heroin addiction is addiction to prescription opioid painkillers.” In Ohio, the number of prescription painkillers per 100 people falls in the range of 96-143 (National Prescription Audit). This means that there can be more painkiller prescriptions than people at times.

If you believe/know your son or daughter is involved with drugs, or are yourself addicted to prescription painkillers or drugs like heroin, we encourage you to contact The Koffel Law Firm to speak with us about our Preventative Law practice. Our goal is to help individuals who may be struggling with drug abuse by providing drug court principles and applying them in the homes of addicts and their families.