The prescription opioid epidemic and heroin scourge in the United States is a clear sign that Americans have become far too reliant on opioid narcotics. With more than a decade of overprescribing, the result has been dramatic; the rate of overdose is unprecedented and opioid abuse is one of the top reasons people seek addiction recovery services.
While the efforts of both federal and state governments to curb opioid abuse have been helpful, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to approve new opioid medications that will certainly be abused. What’s more, this summer the agency approved the use of OxyContin ® (oxycodone) for children as young as 11, The Wall Street Journal reports. Many experts believe that the recent approval will increase prescription opioid abuse.
Not for Children Under the Age of…
Supporters of the FDA’s decision argue that it will help children suffering from cancer and other severe illnesses. Opponents, such as Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, believe that the FDA’s move will only contribute to the prescription opioid epidemic, according to the article.
“When we make it easier for kids to get this stuff, we are sentencing ourselves to more opiate addiction and more misery for America,” said Shumlin.
It goes without saying that children living in severe pain should have access to adequate pain relief – no child should suffer. However, the potential for opioids being prescribed to teenagers who do not require a drug as strong as OxyContin ® is great.
A Biased Opinion
What’s perhaps the most troublesome is the fact that the FDA’s approval comes from studies conducted by the makers of OxyContin, the article reports. Purdue Pharma was asked by the FDA to research the safety and effectiveness of the drug with children.
The FDA approval “gives Purdue Pharma a green light to promote the drug to be used in children,” said Andrew Kolodny, chief medical officer at a nonprofit addiction-treatment center.
If you are or a loved one is struggling with opioid abuse, please contact Design for Change to begin the journey of recovery.