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Summit Yields One-of-a-Kind Opportunity To Reduce Prescription Drug Overdoses

NEWARK, Del., Nov. 16, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --Today, a not-for-profit organization presenting at the Delaware Prescription Drug Abuse Summit appealed to the event's host, Attorney General Beau Biden, for assistance in preventing medication overdoses.  The Center for Lawful Access and Abuse Deterrence (CLAAD) asked Biden to work closely with his father, Vice President Joe Biden, to ensure that federal regulators properly implement Obama-Biden Administration drug policies. 

During CLAAD's presentation at the summit, Director Michael Barnes warned that pain medications without added safety features could flood back into communities in the coming weeks if the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) fails to follow the Obama-Biden strategy.

In recent years, the makers of the opioid pain relievers OxyContin and Opana removed their traditional products from the market in favor of new versions designed to impede certain forms of intentional abuse.  Preliminary, peer-reviewed evidence indicates that dealers and abusers have less interest in the new drugs with abuse-deterrent features.[1]  The new medications cost no more to consumers than their prior formulations. 

Several drug companies have asked the FDA for approval to bring the old, more readily abused formulations of the drugs back to the market as early as January 2013. 

"The Administration's prescription drug abuse prevention plan provides express support for abuse-deterrent medications," Barnes said.

Earlier this month, CLAAD and nine other public health and safety organizations sent a letter to the FDA urging it to implement Obama-Biden policy, foster the transition to abuse-deterrent medications, and prevent the marketing of generic versions of the drugs that do not have similar safety features.

"At today's summit, I asked General Biden to work closely with his father to make certain that the FDA does the right thing," Barnes said. 

Vice President Biden is considered one of the most accomplished national leaders in drug policy, having served as chairman of both the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee and Drug Caucus.

"I have confidence that the Bidens will ensure that the FDA supports the shift to abuse-deterrent medications," Barnes concluded.  "We reached a turning point in our nation's prescription drug abuse epidemic at today's summit." 

[1] Cicero TJ, Ellis MS, Surratt HL. Effect of abuse-deterrent formulation of OxyContin. New England Journal of Medicine. 2012;367(2):187-189.

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