Thursday, April 28. 2011
The Food and Drug Administration announced it is launching an educational program to reduce the nation's abuse of long-lasting opioid prescription drugs, according to the agency's website.
The action requires drug companies that manufacture those drugs - which include OxyContin, Avinza, Duragesic and nine other brand names - to provide educational materials to physicians and patients to inform them on the correct use of those medications. The FDA said those medications are extensively misprescribed and abused, leading to addiction and even death.
Opioids are synthetic versions of opium that are used to treat moderate to severe pain.
Gil Kerlikowske, the director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, said the plan provides a national framework for reducing prescription drug abuse and informing the public on the dangers of using those drugs for recreational use.
"We share a responsibility to protect our communities from the damage done by prescription drug abuse," Kerlikowske said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 27,000 people died from prescription drug overdoses in 2007, which is five times higher than overdose deaths reported in 1990.
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