:04 p.m. PST February 28, 2015
It’s no secret that the abuse of pain medications has led to a growing public health problem across the country. The numbers are alarming, and they are growing.
But also alarming is the number of people who suffer with chronic pain, including many who come to the desert seeking the arid climate for relief.
The problems are complex and multi-layered and I always applaud solutions that help to balance pain management with the cost that prescription drug abuse has on society. Promising technological advancements in recent years are proving to be an important part of the battle. Among these are so-called “abuse deterrent formulas” of commonly prescribed narcotic painkillers that are being developed to prevent some of the most deadly forms of pain pill abuse.
Since 2002, I have been battling Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), a progressive neuro-autoimmune condition that affects multiple systems in the body. I know firsthand how difficult the journey for relief can be, particularly the sidelong glances and disbelief from medical professionals. One in three people (116 million) in the United States are affected with a condition that causes pain.
But what if there were medications that can offer pain sufferers relief, while also protecting those who might be prone to abuse them?
There are. These little known, new tamper proof formulas of strong narcotic pain medications provide patients with the same pain relief as conventional opioids, while incorporate breakthrough technology designed to protect against tampering and abuse.
Several states are considering legislation this year to improve and safeguard patient access to these new formulas of painkillers.
Abuse-deterrent formulations have received widespread support as part of a comprehensive effort to combat prescription drug abuse and promote appropriate pain management, including from the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, members of Congress, and the National Association of Attorneys General — including California Attorney General Kamala Harris.
Abuse of pain medications has led to a growing public health problem in California and nationwide. Each year approximately 4.5 million Americans use prescription pain medications for non-medical purposes, contributing to more than 16,000 deaths annually.
This technology is only part of the solution; but it is a solution nonetheless. Patients that have struggled with addiction or substance abuse in the past, those who live with others who are current or recovering addicts and those who live with teens or young adults who may seek opioids for recreational use can all benefit from ADFs.
Abuse-deterrent formulations have received widespread support as part of a comprehensive effort to combat prescription drug abuse and promote appropriate pain management, including support from the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, members of Congress and the National Association of Attorneys General.
To date, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved abuse-deterrent labeling for four drugs, with other abuse-deterrent opioids in various stages of development.
For the sake of those with legitimate, life-altering pain and for the safety of those prone to use these medications for non-medical use, I urge our lawmakers to stand up for policies that preserve and improve patient access to this new technology. Failing to do so would be failing to do all we can to protect our residents.
Barby Ingle is a chronic pain educator, patient advocate and chairman of the board for the Power of Pain Foundation.
Another excellent article “urging our lawmakers to stand up for policies that preserve and improve patient access”. With the Power of Pain Foundation as a sponsor of the new bill CA AB623 on Abuse Deterrent Formulations addressing Opioid Abuse, this Op-Ed by our #POPF President has special significance being published today, #RareDiseaseDay