With Oxycontin Abuse All Over The News, Is Vicodin Abuse The Forgotten Prescription Painkiller Addiction?
Vicodin abuse has been shunted to the shadows as Oxycontin abuse, addiction and overdoses draws the focus of the news media and the popular consciousness of American society. In recent drug articles and exposes from The Atlantic to The New York Post, Oxycontin covers all of the news coverage and dominates the focus of the media when it come to the prescription painkiller plague. Although the coverage makes sense given the problem, the noise of the Oxycontin focus drowns out the need to focus on other dominant prescription painkillers like Vicodin, Percodan and Percocet. In particular, the Clinical Staff at One80Center is surprised by the lack of coverage in regards to Vicodin abuse and Vicodin addiction.
The History of Vicodin Abuse
Vicodin has been a problem prescription painkiller for over a quarter of a century. Hydrocodone or Vicodin was created by German scientists in the mid 1920′s. The drug was approved for sale in the United States under the brand name Hycodan in 1943. In 1984, a version of Hydrocodone under the brand name Vicodin was approved for sale by the FDA. It was sold by Abbott Laboratories.Vicodin contains a combination of acetaminophen and hydrocodone. Hydrocodone is in a group of drugs called opioid pain relievers. Vicodin is most commonly taken orally in pill form or crushed up and snorted. Since acetaminophen is extremely harmful to the liver in high doses (2,000+ mg), some addicts try to extract the hydrocodone from the pill resulting in a vile liquid that can be taken orally or rectally via syringe. The actual result has been countless overdoses and deaths.
Given the amount of Vicodin abuse and the number of Vicodin overdoses, an FDA Advisory Panel voted in 2009 to ban both Vicodin and Percocet. Despite the recommendation and a bit of hoopla at the time, both prescription painkillers remain on the market and neither ban has been carried out. The vote remains like a shark with no teeth, a gun with no bullets, or a government act all for show but lacking any implementation and actual positive effect. People keep trying Vicodin because of its reputation as a great recreational drug and they keep getting hooked and they keep dying needlessly. When is the media going to pay attention and place Vicodin near the center of the discussion national prescription painkiller plague?
In 2002, it was reported that emergency-room visits involving Hydrocodone had increased 500 percent since 1990. In 2006, Americans were written 130 million prescriptions for painkillers containing Hydrocodone. The vast majority of these prescriptions are for Vicodin. In 2008, Abbott planned to sell a controlled-release version of Vicodin, but fails to get FDA approval. A few months later, Abbott laid off over 200 sales reps who were expected to be marketing the product. Yes, the selling of Vicodin and other prescription painkillers always has been a big business at the expense of the American people.
Vicodin Abuse Cannot Be Ignored
There is no question that Oxycontin abuse and Oxycontin addiction is a serious threat in our country and needs to be near the center of the national prescription painkiller debate. It does not, however, need to dominate the national discussion to the point where other brands of prescription painkillers are ignored. In the extensive experience of the clinical staff at One80Center with addicts in rehab and recovery, Vicodin has been a persistent and devastating brand of opioid painkiller that has led to addiction and worse. If the national debate is going to be on target, Vicodin abuse cannot be ignored.
The plague of prescription painkillers is raging across America in the form of a multitude of opioid brands and kinds. Oxycontin, Percocet and Vicodin happen to be the most popular brand names on the market today. They are some of the brand names for oxycodone and hydrocodone. Nearly three out of four prescription drug overdoses are caused by prescription painkillers. The rate of addiction and the spread of the abuse is staggering as well. Let’s take a look at some facts provided recently by a CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) report on prescription painkillers.
In 2008, there were 14,800 prescription painkiller deaths. The misuse and abuse of prescription painkillers was responsible for more than 475,000 emergency department visits in 2009, a number that had nearly doubled in just five years. More than 12 million people reported used prescription painkillers to for recreational purposes in 2010. In 2010, 2 million people reported using prescription painkillers nonmedically for the first time within the last year—nearly 5,500 a day. The statistics go on and on, and they are shocking beyond comprehension. The problem is huge and continuing to grow each and every year.
The Clinical Staff at One80Center has focused numerous resources and expertise on fighting the prescription painkiller plague. From raising awareness to treating numerous clients, the efforts still feel like sand thrown into the wind of a raging storm. Unless federal and state governments become involved in the fight, unless the fight is even recognized as a problem in public by our public leaders, the resources needed for education, prevention and treatment will not be accessed. For example, in the last presidential election, did either candidate ever mention during a campaign stop while making a speech the need to adress the prescription drug abuse problem. The scary answer is basically “No.”
One80Center provides a proven individualized program to treat both prescription painkiller addiction and prescription drug abuse. But treatment comes after the fact when the hooks of the painkillers are deep in the wills and souls of the addicts at hand. When are we going to be able to access the kids and let them know what can happen before it’s too late? When can we use our experiences in a concrete way to raise awareness? It is frustrating how there are no clear answers for such questions.
Prescription Painkillers & One80Center’s Individualized Program
If you or a loved one is having a problem with prescription painkillers, One80Center has the experience and expertise that you need to get to the other side and on the path of long-term recovery. It does not matter the brand name (Oxycontin, Percodan, Percocet, Vicodin, etc.) or the type (hydrocodone, oxycodone). With expertise in medical detoxes and experience employing specialized services to foster recovery, we have helped prescription painkiller abusers and addicts change their stripes and discover their true path. Still, such work is not enough to stem the tide of the plague of prescription painkillers. If you want to learn more about how One80Center can help you, please take the first step and call 888.588.4180 and ask for our help.
One80Center Prescription Drug Abuse Update – Drug Overdoses Increase In The United States For The 11th Consecutive Year
One80Center Prescription Drug Abuse Update
Tired of the plague of prescription drug abuse and prescription painkiller overdoses, the entire staff at One80Centeror is sad to provide this update on our website: For the 11th consecutive year, drug overdose deaths increased in the United States. Although illegal drugs like heroin play a role, the vast majority of overdoses are from prescription painkillers like Oxycontin and Vicodin. In addition, prescription overdoses from Benzodiazepines is on the rise.
Drug Overdoses Increase Again
An analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta found 38,329 people died of a drug overdose in the United States in 2010, up from 37,004 deaths in 2009. This continued the steady rise in overdose deaths seen over the past 11 years, starting with 16,849 deaths in 1999. The statistics lag because of the time it takes to compile data from across the country and obtain an accurate record. The researchers analyzed data from CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics 2010 multiple cause-of-death file, based on death certificates.
CDC 2010 Statistics of Drug Overdoses
In 2010, nearly 60 percent, or 22,134 fatal overdoses, involved pharmaceutical drugs. Opioid analgesics, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone, were involved in about 3-of-4 pharmaceutical overdose deaths, confirming the predominant role opioid analgesics play in overdose deaths. However, the researchers also found drugs often prescribed for mental health conditions were involved in a significant number of pharmaceutical overdose deaths.
Benzodiazepines – anti-anxiety drugs like Valium and Xanax – were involved in nearly 30 percent of these deaths. In addition, antidepressants played a factor in 18 percent of the cases and anti-psychotic drugs in 6 percent of the cases. Deaths involving more than one drug or drug class are counted multiple times and therefore are not mutually exclusive. In a statement, the lead researcher Dr. Tom Frieden said: “Patients with mental health or substance use disorders are at increased risk for non-medical use and overdose from prescription painkillers as well as being prescribed high doses of these drugs.”
One80Center is tired of watching American be ravaged by prescription drug abuse, prescription drug addiction, and overdoses across the board. Providing both treatment and raising awareness, One80Center is doing its best to stem the tide of the prescription drug abuse plague. A first key step is recognizing that prescription drug abuse is as serious and as dangerous as illegal drug abuse and needs to be highlighted in the national debate.
To battle the national plague of prescription drug addiction, a Chicago-based company named Vatex Explorations has been prototyping a smart medication dispenser that would track patient behavior in relation to prescription drug use. The Divert-X device is designed to provide an early warning that opioid painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin are being misused. Divert-X alerts physicians in real time when and where patients are accessing medications. The idea is to avoid access of the drugs in excessive amounts and beyond the range of a given prescription. The Clinical Staff at One80Center supports any new drug technology that could help curb the storm of prescription drug addiction that is raging across the United States.
The Divert-X dispenser would come with medication prepackaged in blister packs. Each blister is connected to a chip in the unit, which records the timing of access for each dose. A GPS tracking system would also provide the dispenser’s location. The information would then be transmitted wirelessly to a central database that physicians, pharmacists or other registered users can access to determine if a patient is taking their medication as directed. “The data we’ll be generating will be giving the physician a tool that he does not have to evaluate how a patient is behaving relative to his prescription, says Simon Sellers, Chief Executive Officer of Vatex Explorations.
“If a patient seems to be adhering to the regimen, think of him getting a ‘green light’ from our system,” Sellers told American News Report. “If the patient receives our device containing opioids and immediately accesses all doses, then essentially an alarm goes off in the system. You can think of it as a ‘red light’ in that behavior is occurring which is not consistent with the prescribed regimen.” Sellers say Divert-X could also be used to spot early warning signs of a patient developing tolerance for a drug or becoming addicted.
If adopted widely, the data could be used to develop scores for patients in relation to their usage of the monitored prescription drug– similar to FICO scores – to measure their compliance and avoid prescription drug addiction. By showing a record of compliance, a patient would be more likely to be prescribed the prescription drugs they actually need. The idea is that prescription drug addiction leads to drug addict-like behaviors and compulsions where compliance is not possible.
At present, Vatex only has a prototype of a Divert-X dispenser and is seeking investors to further develop the device and fund a clinical study. “The medical insurance companies themselves estimate that drug diversion costs them about $75 billion a year,” said Sellers. “I think ultimately the extent of which the product can be used will be driven by the magnitude of overall health care cost reductions that we will be able to demonstrate.” At the same time, if Divert X is widely tested, proved to be effective and doctors are willing to participate, One80Center believes it should be given a chance to help stem the tide of prescription drug addiction in the United States.
Thanks to the internet, everyone is an expert these days, but could a nation of experts lead to a nation of prescription drug addicts? We all have everything we need to know at our fingertips. The clinical staff at One80Center has seen such beliefs lead directly to tragedies that could have been avoided. However, Google is our God, and we all seem to believe the right facts are a simple keystroke away from being realized:
Who wrote The Beautiful and Damned? F. Scott Fitzgerald post Gatsby. How many pints in a liter? 2.11337642, of course. Is it okay to take OxyContin on an empty stomach? Sure it is if you know the dosage. Will I become addicted if I take one? Of course not. It takes time to develop an addiction. Unfortunately, such reassuring answers are often incorrect and downright dangerous. Google is not licensed as a medical provider, and we should not fool ourselves in terms of the quality of the information we receive when we search. It is inconsistent at best.
Experts or Prescription Drug Addicts?
Today, 37 percent of American adults at least occasionally use the Internet to investigate the possible effects of a drug, says a new survey from The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. Six percent admit they always seek health advice online, where professionals and nonprofessionals dispense advice at will. The Internet’s ability to equalize science and speculation makes the clinical staff at One80Center very nervous. Consumers who want to find quality information online can weed out the drug promoters and other weak sources by asking specific questions.
The National Institutes of Health suggests the following questions:
Is it easy to see who pays for and is responsible for the health-related website and its information? Is the website connected to a public entity or a private company? Is the website promoting a certain lifestyle or philosophy? What is the website’s purpose? If the given information isn’t written by the website creator, is the original source clearly identified?
The risks are heightened when the patient is surfing for information concerning prescription medications. When taken improperly, a medication’s molecular structure can become altered and therefore ineffective or dangerous. Kids often surf the web to confirm that it is okay to try and experiment with prescription drugs. The bad results can range from the deadly to the addictive.
Avoid international sites offering deals on prescription drugs. Some websites will feature a seal of approval from Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites, or VIPPS. A site also should clearly state privacy and security policies. If the site doesn’t include a physical address and phone number, avoid it altogether.
Prescription-level drugs never should be purchased if they don’t require U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval, or if the online pharmacy doesn’t ask for proof of a written prescription for an authorized health professional. Doing so is illegal and a prescription for disaster online pharmacies such as the massive mail-order company Medco provide one-to-one pharmacy consultations over the phone. And full disclosure is always the way to go.
A Nation of Prescription Drug Addicts
Whatever you do, don’t try to go it alone, experts say. Prescription drugs should not be abused and should not become an avenue for becoming a prescription drug addict. A nation of experts can quickly become a nation of addicts. If you want to learn about prescription drugs before a talk with a doctor, here are some consumer websites offering basic information.
One of the golden rules of the clinical staff at One80Center is embracing safety before taking any risks. If you make a mistake with prescription drugs, the results could be fatal. Be safe first, be smart and trust professionals with the experience and expertise you need to avoid unnecessary risks. For help, please contact One80Center by calling toll free 888.593.2301.
The Clinical Staff at One80Center fully supports California Attorney General Kamala Harris in her efforts to convince Governor Jerry Brown to restore funding for a prescription drug monitoring program. Known as CURES, it is a program that One80Center believes is a key to combating prescription drug abuse and prescription drug overdose deaths in the state. California should be a trailblazer in funding such a program, setting a standard for the rest of the country that hopefully will lead to a Federal funding to create a national prescription drug monitoring program and database.
Prescription Drug Monitoring Essential
A once effective system, CURES has been severely undermined by budget cuts. Rather than being realized to its full potential, the CURES program is lingering in the financial purgatory of California’s depleted state budget. The CURES database contains detailed information on prescription narcotics, including the names of patients, the doctors prescribing the drugs and the pharmacies that dispense them. Designed to help physicians detect “doctor-shopping” patients who dupe multiple physicians into prescribing drugs such as OxyContin, Vicodin and Xanax, CURES was helping to turn back the tide of the prescription drug epidemic when it was being funded.
After Governor Brown’s unveiled his proposed $97.7-billion budget that actually projects a surplus, Harris immediately recommended that the extra funds should be used to restore funding to the CURES program. The California Attorney General said it was up to the state to make sure the money was “spent wisely… This includes smart investments that benefit Californians, such as restoring funding for the state’s prescription drug-monitoring program.”
CURES Is The Nation’s Oldest State Program
CURES is the nation’s oldest and largest prescription drug-monitoring program and once served as a model for other states. Today, it has fallen on hard times, reflecting the state of such programs across the country during the recent recession. What is such a tragedy is that the recession opened the door for the prescription drug abuse epidemic to spiral out of control. CURES data could have been used to save countless lived by monitoring physicians whose prescribing puts patients at risk. But it hasn’t been used to even a fraction of its full potential and is an effective tool that has been tossed aside. Such a choice is nothing less than criminal considering what is at stake.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommends that states use such data to keep tabs on doctors. Today, despite the recession, at least half a dozen states do so. It is time that California joins that list and restores its once trailblazing reputation when it comes to the fight against prescription drug abuse. Shortly after Harris succeeded Brown as attorney general, the governor gutted the Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement and the funding for CURES in 2011; Harris kept the program alive with about $400,000 in revenue from the Medical Board of California and other licensing boards. But it is down to one employee and has no enforcement capacity. It is a guard dog without teeth.
Will California Fund The Cures Program?
State officials have estimated it would cost about $2.8 million to make CURES more accessible and easier to use, and $1.6 million more per year to keep it running. However, officials say the program — with little or no additional financial resources — could now be used to identify potentially rogue doctors. Bob Pack, an Internet entrepreneur, has advocated using CURES more vigorously to track reckless physicians and pharmacies as well as doctor-shopping patients. He became active on the issue after a driver high on painkillers and alcohol struck and killed his two young children in the Bay Area suburb of Danville in 2003.
An aide to Harris said restoring the CURES program is a high priority. “She’s committed to fixing the database and making it as strong as possible,” said Travis LeBlanc, special assistant attorney general. The Clinical Staff at One80Center fully supports such efforts in the future. It is time to get CURES back on track and do everything we can to stem the tide of the prescription drug abuse epidemic before more lives are carelessly lost.
Los Angeles Authorities Raid And Shut Down 4 San Fernando Valley Pill Mill Medical Clinics For Dealing Oxycontin And Prescription Drugs
Before the holiday season, One80Center notes and endorses the proactive raids and closures of 4 San Fernando Valley pill mill medical clinics by Los Angeles law enforcement officials and federal authorities. Suspected of catering to addicts seeking heroin-like painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin as well as other prescription drugs, the closures of the clinics is definitely a step in the right direction. It is frightening, however, to learn that the pill model of drug distribution where legal facilities are designed as covers for illegal activities is becoming a prevalent reality in Southern California.
The investigation into the clinics was prompted by the apparent overdose death of a Ventura County man last month, officials said. Authorities closed the San Fernando Valley pill mill clinics — three in Reseda and one in Van Nuys — because of alleged labor code violations. The code violations, however, opened the door to a greater investigation. Searching the Encino home of the manager of two of the clinics, Los Angeles sheriff deputies found $300,000 in cash and another $300,000 worth of the powerful prescription painkiller OxyContin. The clinic manager, identified as Anush Davtyan, was arrested and is suspected of being involved in a scheme to sell the medication, which can fetch $30 to $80 a pill, on the black market.
The clinics employed eight physicians and physician’s assistants at various times. What is so alarming is that two of the physician names continued to be used to write prescriptions after the doctors had died. Prescriptions and pharmacy bottles from the clinics have been found on drug suspects arrested in Arizona, Washington and several other states, drawing the scrutiny of investigators. Pharmacies in several states also made complaints about the quantities of addictive and dangerous drugs contained in prescriptions from the clinics, and some big pharmacy chains made the decision not to honor such prescriptions from the San Fernando Valley pill mill medical offices.
After a 51-year-old Ventura man overdosed with a prescription pill bottle of the powerful painkiller OxyContin in his pocket, the investigation of the 4 San Fernando Valley pill mill medical offices began. The San Fernando Valley pill mill clinics are now the focus of ongoing investigations by several agencies, including the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Medicare Office of Inspector General. Patient records and computers were seized during the raids at all three clinics. As a result, the prosecutions are believed to be in excellent shape with an exceeding amount of incriminating evidence in the hands of the authorities. One80Center hopes such prosecutions not only are successful, but lead to a renewed focus on illegal distribution and abuse of prescription drugs in Southern California. After all, the pill mills are not an exception to the rule, but a symptom of a greater plague raging in the hearts of the city, the state and the country as a whole.
Expert Panel Opposes FDA Approval Of New Painkiller Zohydro, Citing Need To Stem The Prescription Drug Epidemic
A panel of outside experts brought in by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has voted against recommending Zogenix Inc’s Zohydro painkiller for FDA approval. In a break from past decisions, the panel cited concerns about the danger of addiction posed by the drug class known as opioids. If they choose, FDA officials could still approve the new painkiller by imposing certain restrictions to protect public safety. The Clinical Staff at One80Center approves the decision by the panel of experts to put safety first and profit second by making sure another dangerous new painkiller does not enter the marketplace without the proper safeguards.
New Painkiller Zohydro Rejected
In a strong rejection backed by an 11-2 vote, advisory committee members said the San Diego-based pharmaceutical company had met narrow FDA targets for safety, but that is not enough. The panel expressed worries that the new painkiller known generically as hydrocodone bitartrate had the potential to become a drug of choice for prescription painkiller addicts and abusers. Similar to oxycodone, the new painkiller is addictive with potential for widespread abuse.
Zohydro is a single-entity, extended-release product containing the narcotic painkiller hydrocodone with no other pharmaceutical ingredient. Health officials say hydrocodone, the active ingredient in Zohydro, is already the most widely abused drug in an opioid class linked to the prescription drug abuse epidemic. “Zogenix recognizes and appreciates that prescription opioid misuse and abuse is a critical issue. However, it is also important to remember that there is a documented patient need for an extended-release hydrocodone medicine without acetaminophen,” the company said in a statement.
FDA officials will consider the committee’s recommendation in deciding by March 1 whether to approve Zohydro for sale in the United States. The drug is designed to help those who require a round-the-clock painkiller for an extended period of time. Although effective pain management for chronic pain is needed, public safety must come first. “The primary thing has to be the public health,” said Dr. Judith Kramer of Duke University. “And I don’t see how we can’t see this as a promised repeat performance.”
7 Million Americans Abuse Prescription Drugs
An estimated 7 million Americans abuse pharmaceutical drugs. Prescription drugs account for about 75 percent of all drug-related U.S. overdose deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Three of every four deaths from pills involve opioid pain relievers including oxycodone. Avi Israel, father of an 18-year-old boy who suffered from Crohn’s disease and committed suicide after becoming addicted to hydrocodone, said: “Today we have a chance to save people… Ask yourself this question… do we really need another narcotic pill to help anybody with pain? We can’t handle what we have.”
Dr. Bob Rappaport, director of the FDA’s division of anesthesia, analgesia and addiction products, warned that the ultimate decision must be based on a tangible difference between Zohydro and other opioid-based medications already available. If there is no difference, then Rappaport said, “You’re punishing this company and this drug because of the sins of the previous developers and their products. And from a regulatory standpoint, that’s not really something we can do.” Then again, given the history of abuse associated with Oxycontin and Vicodin, helping to stem the ongoing prescription painkiller abuse epidemic must be a priority of regulators. One80Center believes public safety must be a top priority when it comes to addressing prescription drug abuse and choices made by the FDA and the federal government.
Experts Propose Urine Drug Test Guidelines for Prescription Painkillers, Prescription Opioid Therapy And ChronicPain Management Therapy
The clinical staff at One80Center acknowledges recommendations for urine drug test guidelines in regards to prescription painkillers that have been made after a period of intense investigation and an ongoing back-and-forth between experts. The recommendations were presented at the American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM) 28th annual meeting. Patients who are prescribed opioid therapy for longer than 3 months should be subjected to random urine drug monitoring every 3 to 6 months, depending on their risk for abuse, according to the expert opinion statement.
The statement is deigned to offer guidelines to be adopted by doctors and clinicians across the country. “Clinicians need to recognize that all patients have a degree of risk for misuse of opioids and that monitoring is necessary to maintain patient safety, structure care with greater objectivity, and guide ongoing treatment decisions,” said the statement, authored by 11 experts in the fields of pain and addiction medicine.
Prescription Painkillers Urine Test Guidelines
“The group spent over 2 years putting this together,” said John Peppin, DO, co-chair of the panel, and director of the Clinical Research Division at the Pain Treatment Center of the Bluegrass in Lexington, Kentucky, in an interview with Medscape Medical News. “There was a lot of diversity, a lot of debate and argument. We want to use these technologies responsibly — they’re very expensive.” Dr. Peppin said the guidelines tried to answer 5 questions: whom to test, when to test, how to test, how to interpret the results, and how to handle discrepancies.
“We could literally test for a hundred things. Should we be testing for those hundred things in every test we do or not? Of course we’re looking for things that shouldn’t be there and we’re looking for things that should be there as well,” Dr. Pepin noted. “So, if they’re taking oxycodone we’ll certainly want to test for oxycodone. However, if they’re taking marijuana or cocaine or those kinds of things we want to know that. If they’re taking morphine we want to know that. So we need to tailor our tests and the things we’re looking for depending on the patient and the risk that they’re in.” From the perspective of the One80Center Clinical Staff, the presence of other substances easily could be a sign of co-occurring disorders and dual addictions.
Prescription Painkillers Co-Occurring Disorders
Interpretation of test results is also a complex issue, said Dr. Peppin. “If a drug’s not there, for example, let’s say they’re supposed to be on oxycodone and it’s not in their urine, where is it? Does that mean they sold it? Does that mean it ran out early? Does that mean they’re hoarding it because they’re afraid that at some point they’re not going to get it? It could mean a lot of things.” The Clinical Staff at One80Center has experienced such questions and challenges in the past with clients on certain medications. The idea that the absence of a drug in a screening can be as significant as the presence of a drug is an engaging and powerful concept.
After the initial test, the frequency of random follow-up monitoring should be determined on the basis of risk assessment with the Screener and Opioid Assessment for People with Pain Revised (SOAPP-R), according to the guidelines. Other validated and useful screens include the Current Opioid Misuse Measure (COMM) and the Opioid Risk Tool (ORT).
Risk Assessment Components
Additional components of risk assessment presented in the recommendations should include a patient interview that explores things such as “smoking history, past medical history, history of psychiatric diagnosis that predisposes patient to abuse, history of prior opioid use and known misuse, personal and family history of substance abuse, and social environment that poses concern over misuse or diversion.”
“Primary care physicians and pain specialists are largely practicing today without the benefit of structural guidance,” the authors of the recommendations write. “Because clinical opinion varies considerably with respect to [urinary drug monitoring], it is expected that the recommendations presented here will generate considerable debate among practicing clinicians and policy makers. Constructive and critical evaluation can now proceed in a way that can more meaningfully inform clinical practice and public policy.”
Given the plague of prescription drug addiction in this country and the extreme abuse of opioid prescription painkillers like OxyContin and Oxycodone, One80Center completely agrees that such guidelines are a necessity. Anything that will help prevent people receiving chronic pain treatment and pain management therapy from becoming addicts makes sense. Any medical recommendations and guidelines that protect clients from addiction are a step in the right direction.
New Spectrometry Detection Techniques Evolve Into A Portable Technology To Combat Prescription Drug Counterfeiting
Becoming more and more of a problem, prescription drug counterfeiting is a major problem across the world. Speaking at the 244th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society, Dr. Facundo M. Fernández described how his team has developed technology that reduces the time needed to check a prescription drug sample for authenticity from a half hour to a few minutes.
ONE80CENTER supports such international efforts to protect and validate the authenticity of prescription drugs. What is amazing to the clinical staff at ONE80CENTER is that the researchers are working on the prototype of an affordable, portable version of the device to battle prescription drug counterfeiting in the field. Fernández explained: “They could sort the good medicine from the bad immediately, without shipping samples to laboratories and waiting days or weeks for the results.”
Battle Against Prescription Drug Counterfeiting
From the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Fernández said new ways of revealing prescription drug counterfeiting is essential to the health of consumers. The counterfeiting problem is spreading with the globalization of pharmaceutical production. In addition, with the burgeoning market of prescription drug abuse and addiction, the production methods of the drug counterfeiters are becoming more sophisticated. In regards to prescription drug counterfeiting, Fernández said, “It is hard to tell from looking at the packaging. The packages look absolutely professional and authentic, sometimes right down to the hologram seal introduced to discourage counterfeiting.”
Counterfeiting involves all kinds of medications, from prescription painkillers like OxyContin and Percodan to lifestyle medications like Viagra to drugs for cancer, malaria and tuberculosis, diseases that cause millions of deaths annually. Incredibly, in 2011, the World Health Organization says that about 10 percent of medications worldwide are counterfeit. Estimates run even higher in poor, developing countries in Southeast Asia and Africa, where past reports have stated that as much as one-third of tested drugs are fake.
Spectrometry & Prescription Drug Counterfeiting
Fake medications sometimes contain the correct active ingredient, but at the wrong dose. Too much could result in an overdose and possibly death. Too little could result in drug resistance, leading to a situation where the real medication doesn’t even work anymore. To check the drugs, they use mass spectrometry (MS), a standard laboratory technology that weighs molecules in order to identify them. “So-called ambient MS methods require much less instrument and personnel time than traditional methods, so we use them as a first pass to look at the quality of large sample sets,” said Fernández. The team is now working on a prototype instrument that medical researchers could use to identify prescription drug counterfeiting in the field.
Fernandez illuminated how such a portable process would work in he field to battle prescription drug counterfeiting: “These are methods that let you analyze a solid sample without any significant preparation. You can take a tablet, put it in front of the instrument with an ionization source, and you get a quick snapshot of what’s in the sample. It provides a very high-throughput pipeline to identify suspicious samples quickly.” ONE80CENTER supports such incredible breakthroughs in technology, and we can imagine how such breakthroughs can be applied in recovery scenarios to identify substances and to even demonstrate the further risk of buying so-called prescription painkillers in an illegal environment.