FDA to crack down on opioids; pharmacist reacts - KOAM TV 7

FDA to crack down on opioids; pharmacist reacts


Abuse of prescription opioid medication has became so out of hand, top officials at the FDA are calling it an epidemic.

"Things are getting worse, not better, with the epidemic of opioid misuse, abuse and dependence. It's time we all took a step back to look at what is working and what we need to change to impact this crisis," Dr. Robert Califf, FDA deputy commissioner for medical products and tobacco said.

The FDA has devised a far-reaching plan to reassess how the agency approaches opioid medication. They have collected evidence and numbers and are starting with making doctors, pharmacists, and all healthcare workers aware of the abuse problem.

"It's a great thing, the more information you can get out to people, the better everything will be," pharmacist DJ Bertoncino said.

Naloxone is a counter-overdose drug that some pharmacies have considered making available without a prescription. Bertoncino has his doubts that it will be made available over-the-counter in the near future. But doctors are considering making it available by injection and an intra-nasal form.

"Our area, we seem to have a higher usage of the opioid drugs, so anytime you can get something where it's dealing with and focusing on that problem, it's a better thing to have," Bertoncino said.

Drug overdose deaths, driven largely by prescription opioid abuse is now the leading cause of injury death in the United States, surpassing even motor vehicle crashes.

"The best thing we can take away from it is that everybody is becoming more aware of the problem and trying to deal with it," Bertoncino said.

Efforts by the FDA are underway and the agency plans on keeping the plan of action transparent.

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