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Consumers Desperate For Measures To Curb Prescription Drug Abuse

CINCINNATI, Aug. 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Seventy-one percent of Americans believe the abuse of strong prescription pain medications such as OxyContin is a serious public health and safety issue in the United States, according to findings from a survey released today by Repass & Partners, a Cincinnati based research firm.  

"Americans understand the severity of the prescription medication abuse problem and the need for medical innovation to make progress with this very serious health situation facing our country," Rex Repass, CEO of the survey research firm said.  "More than nine in ten respondents said that developing new technologies to prevent drug abuse is an important key to reducing the abuse crisis and improving health safety in the U.S."  Repass added that two-thirds of Americans also believe prescription opioid based pain medications are abused more often than illegal drugs such as heroin. 

Focusing on more community rehabilitation, stricter regulation of prescribing doctors, and increased law enforcement are not enough to curb the problem, the survey finds.  Nine out of ten (92%) respondents said new techniques to make medications more difficult to abuse are an important step in abuse prevention.  In addition, almost three-quarters of Americans said they would even pay higher costs for these abuse deterrent drugs, according to the survey findings.

Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that drug overdoses in the United States have more than tripled since 1990. Many of these deaths are the result of overdoses of prescription pain and ADHD medications, according to CDC data. 

A common means of abusing these medications is to crush the pills and then inhale or inject the ingredients to get a quick high.  New abuse deterrent technologies (ADFs) are being developed to make it more difficult to tamper with or otherwise abuse prescription opioids. Examples of ADFs include gelling, hardness, bittering agents, anti-crush mechanisms and extended release. 

Recently, two powerful painkillers have been approved by the FDA.  Targiniq ER was approved with an ADF that blocks the drug's effect when crushed, and Zohydro, which is ten times stronger than Vicodin, was approved without an abuse deterrence of any kind. Medical groups, law enforcement agencies and state leaders have expressed serious concern over the potential for abuse of Zohydro. 

While OxyContin introduced an abuse deterrent version of its product in 2010 and we have seen the abuse of this prescription drug dramatically decline, there is currently no mandatory requirement to include abuse deterrents in painkillers or attention-deficit disorder medications.

"What also struck me was that most respondents – seventy-five percent – believe that prescription costs are too high, yet almost the same percentage are willing to pay more for abuse deterrent drugs," Repass said.  "That is another indication of how serious the abuse problem has become."

The survey was conducted from August 6 – 13 and included 1,501 respondents who answered questions through an online consumer panel.

About Repass & Partners, Inc.

Repass & Partners, Inc. is a custom survey research and strategic consulting firm based in Cincinnati.  The firm's services range from consulting with clients to identify research objectives, through study design, data collection, analysis, and research-based strategy recommendations.  The company is headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio with a client service office in Washington, DC and a field/data collection center in Charleston, W.Va.  This study was conducted using the MindField Online™ monthly omnibus survey of 1,500 adult Americans, balanced to census demographics and geographic regions of the United States.  Repass & Partners is a member of the Counsel of American Survey Research Organizations (CASRO). 

SOURCE Repass & Partners
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