Why Supposedly Abuse-Proof Pills Won’t Stop Opioid Overdose Deaths


Oral pain pills containing opioid have become a big business, drawing in companies including Purdue Pharma, Pfizer, and Zogenix. But they’ve also become a huge public health problem, leading to record numbers of drug overdose deaths. In 2013, more than 16,000 people died of opiate analgesic drug overdoses, up from 4,000 a decade ago.

So when Purdue, the maker of the category-defining Oxycodone, asked to come by to show me the abuse-resistant technology in its new Hysingla pill, I was game: I hit it with a hammer, squeezed it with wire cutters, and soaked it in water. The pill was almost impossible to make into anything that you can snort or inject.

Hey dude, have you heard of the internet?  Of drug websites?  A microwave?  Did you think it might be considered responsible reporting to look up this information before you wrote this article?  You know, in case you were wrong?

But critics of these narcotic pills say that most patients take the pills by mouth, and that many who overdose initially got the medicines from their doctors, not from the black market. So is this new technology enough? Probably not.

Watch me try to destroy Hysingla, and talk to David Haddox, a Purdue executive, and Andrew Kolodny, who runs addiction treatment facility Phoenix House, in the video below, and watch to the end for my summation of why these new abuse resistant technologies, though neat, are not enough of a step to deal with what has become a giant public health problem.

A “huge public health problem.”  A “giant public health problem.”  Hey, Matthew Herper of Forbes, have you ever considered that when the media distorts this issue, it is part of the freaking problem?  Have you considered talking to pain patients to get their input on how the drug war is affecting them?  Of course not, why should you care?

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