As part of the pain care community, we understand that we all have an active role to play to help advance responsible pain management and abuse deterrence.13 In a statement on prescription opioid abuse, the FDA underscored the need to work together to invest in strategies and responsible approaches that deter or mitigate abuse while preserving access to pain medications for the patients that need them most.13
The FDA has identified three key ways prescribers can help curtail the US opioid epidemic13:
It is important for people who are prescribed pain medications to understand how to appropriately use, store, and dispose of their prescription opioids.14 Since many people who abuse or misuse prescription opioids are not the person the medication was prescribed to, understanding and following appropriate use, storage, and disposal instructions could help reduce the risk of abuse and diversion. The American Academy of Family Physicians has provided general guidance and helpful tools on the appropriate use, storage, and disposal of opioid medications.15
Resources are available to help educate around the appropriate use, storage, and disposal of prescription opioid medications.
There are many government policies and programs in place to help address the opioid abuse public health issue. Laws and policies of today must simultaneously prevent abuse, addiction, and diversion while allowing and supporting the legal use of prescription drugs by those who need them.4
Public education programs engage local healthcare professionals and antidrug coalitions to promote and distribute public education materials supporting the appropriate use and storage of prescription pain medications and understanding of the associated risks of abuse and misuse.3
The FDA also encourages the ongoing study of abuse deterrence technologies for prescription opioid medications. Currently, the concept of abuse deterrence is viewed as the introduction of some limits or impediments to abuse, as opposed to the outright elimination of abuse.5
At Teva Pharmaceuticals, we take our responsibility to help mitigate the risks of abuse seriously. In 2013, we partnered with five leading industry organizations across the prescription drug supply chain to form the Alliance to Prevent the Abuse of Medicines. We are dedicated to raising awareness of the risks of opioid drug abuse.