FILE - This Feb. 19, 2013 file photo shows OxyContin pills arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt. On Friday, Sept. 11, 2020, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel said there’s no clear evidence that a reformulated version of the painkiller OxyContin designed to discourage abuse actually resulted in fewer overdoses or cases of addiction. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)

Health Experts Debate If A Revamped Painkiller is Helping Curb Drug Abuse


WASHINGTON ( — Health experts debate if a revamped painkiller is helping curb the overdose epidemic. On Friday, a panel of government health advisors said there was no clear evidence on if the new revamped version of the pain pill known as OxyContin was effective or not. This new version of the drug is supposed to be harder to crush in order to prevent misuse of the drug such as snorting and injecting. 

However, the Food and Drug Administration said that the new updated version of the drug had appeared to cut down the abuse of the painkiller compared to the original version of OxyContin. Panelists and other researchers argued that there’s been no data to prove the new version discouraged overdoses and deaths. Dr. Lewis Nelson of Rutgers University shared his opinion, “I think it’s very difficult to tease out cause of death and overdose. Overall, I think the quality of evidence was fairly poor.”

Last year, 71,000 deaths due to overdoses happened in the United States alone. Many of these deaths were due to the abuse of fentanyl and other like opioids.

The problem with the new version is that people can still swallow multiple pills at once rather than just snort or inject it. With this in mind, it doesn’t completely discourage abuse of the pill the way it’s thought to. However, data from Purdue Pharma presented that illegal trafficking of the powerful painkiller decreased when the new version of OxyContin replaced the old version.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to know if the positive data from Purdue Pharma was because of the creation of the new drug or if it was because the government got involved with the issues of illegal drug use. 

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