A study published in the March 11 edition of JAMA Psychiatry finds that an abuse-deterrent formulation of the prescription drug OxyContin® (oxycodone)was only partially successful in getting abusers and addicts to stop using the drug. Surveying almost 11,000 drug users at 150 treatment facilities in 48 states, the authors found that some 25% report continuing to abuse the medication despite package labeling that emphasizes its abuse-deterrent properties. Terming the abuse-deterrent formulation “useful as a first line of defense” lead investigator Theodore J. Cicero, PhD, continued “OxyContin abuse in people seeking treatment declined, but that decline slowed after a while. And during that same time period, heroin use increased dramatically.”
The original formulation of OxyContin (oxycodone) contained high levels of the pain-killing drug oxycodone. It was designed so that small amounts of the drug were released over a long period of time. However, abusers found they could crush the pills and snort the powder, or dissolve the pills in liquid and then inject the drug. To discourage abuse, the newer formulation of OxyContin (oxycodone) was designed to make it harder to crush or dissolve the pills. The abuse-deterrent formulation was introduced in 2010.
Read more about the findings here.