Will This Help Prevent Teens From Abusing Painkillers?

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Each day, an average of 2,000 teens will try prescription drugs recreationally for the first time. This statistic, from the National Institute of Drug Abuse, proves why a recent development from the Food and Drug Administration is a big deal. On Wednesday, the FDA approved a new painkiller intended to deter prescription drug abuse. This could play a major role in curbing the current drug crisis among teens (and adults, too).

The painkiller is called Targiniq ER, and combines oxycodone with naloxone. Oxycodone is a highly addictive opioid, which is safe if taken as prescribed. But unfortunately, it's commonly abused. That's why this new pill combines it with naloxone. The naxolone — which is usually used to reverse painkiller overdoses — is intended to block the euphoric feelings that accompany oxycodone. When this hybrid pill is crushed, the naloxone becomes active —  thus preventing oxycodone's enticing, feel-good feelings.

According to the FDA, the drug is expected to "deter, but not totally prevent" abuse. This is part of the FDA's mission to combat misuse of all opioid drugs, the Partnership for Drug Free Kids reports.

nidaCNN reports that this new development can decrease the pill's "street marketability." Dr. Stephen Anderson told their site, "Well done to the manufacturer for placing some built-in pharmacological protections."

However, it's important to note that not everyone is optimistic about Targiniq ER. Dr. Andrew Kolodny, president of the Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, told the LA Times it may worsen the crisis. He says,

If we really want to turn this epidemic around, the most important thing is to stop creating new cases of addiction. Coming up with new gimmicks isn’t going to help.

We'll have to wait to see what happens, but trying to prevent drug abuse is definitely a step in the right direction. For more about this topic, be sure to check out Choices magazine this fall! The October issue will feature a story that takes a closer look at prescription pill abuse and how to prevent it.


Did you know there's a health and well-being magazine for teens? Subscribe to Choices, and check out past articles, including "I Was Hooked On Prescription Drugs," where Tim shares his story about overcoming drug abuse.