Opana’s Popularity Illustrates Challenge of Tackling Prescription Drug Abuse

The rise in popularity of the painkiller Opana illustrates the challenges facing law enforcement authorities, addiction specialists and pharmaceutical companies trying to tackle prescription drug abuse, USA Today reports. Opana misuse became more common after the company that makes OxyContin reformulated the drug to make it more difficult to abuse.

“It’s almost like a game of Whac-A-Mole. You get a handle on OxyContin; they switch to Opana,” Jeffrey Reynolds, Executive Director of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence in Mineola, New York, told the newspaper. “My guess is it will be something new tomorrow.”

The company that makes Opana, Endo Pharmaceuticals, has introduced a new formulation that is more difficult to abuse. The new pill, which is crush-resistant, received approval from the Food and Drug Administration late last year. Addiction experts and police say they now expect to see Opana users switching to heroin.

“They will adapt the same way drug traffickers or criminals will adapt to a new law. They are going to find a way to satisfy their addiction,” said DEA Special Agent Gary Boggs of the Office of Diversion Control. “When they either can’t get those particular pharmaceuticals or can’t afford them, they now gravitate to heroin.”

Opana abuse has been seen in areas including Nassau County, New York; Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia; and Ohio, including Akron, Cincinnati and Athens.

4 Responses to Opana’s Popularity Illustrates Challenge of Tackling Prescription Drug Abuse

  1. Rokki | July 11, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    The money being spent on changing formula’s could be used for Treatment options and to make those options available to those suffering out there on Archaic “Waiting Lists”. We all need treatment not new pills! I am hearing about Patients being told “Waiting List”. Thats a death sentence to one who needs help. By the time we figure out we have a problem and need help we need it then or we could die,we are dying daily. You just don’t hear about it as it doesn’t sell papers! Of course unless it’s Methadone. That always sells. It should. It saves thousands of lives each day. Make it more avalable to those who need it and start saving more lives!

    Santa Cruz

  2. Sandra Daoust | July 11, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    My teenage son died of an overdose after being put on a waiting list for state run treatment. The War on Drugs has failed. We need affordable and available treatment, not new drug formulations.

  3. maxwood | July 11, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    1. Don’t know why “the experts” expect “Opana”-users to switch to heroin, unless after “the authorities” have first made Opana illegal (Drug War quixotry).

    2. Do you think maybe the Company cynically named this drug to cash in on the popularity of “Obama”?

  4. Abu Muusaa Merrick | July 14, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    The consprisy theorist can have a field day with this.but we need to ask ourselves whos making money behind these drugs, and whom are they lobbing.and where are they (phram) are getting the raw material (opioim). From and by what means.its amazing how after the invasion of afghanistan we see an increase of opiate based medication formation and abuse. What are the reasons states arent given funding for treament especially those the house Pharm corps.

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