Generic drugs pose new threat in addiction fight

10:55 AM, Dec 16, 2012   |    comments
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By Bruce Schreiner, Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Kentucky officials say the uphill struggle to curtail prescription-pill abuse will suffer a setback if a wave of generic painkillers reaches the market without safeguards that make them harder to crush for a quick high.

Patents for OxyContin and Opana ER are set to expire next year, allowing generic versions of those powerful medications to reach pharmacies. Those brand-name drugs were popular sources for abusers to satisfy their fixes until tamper-resistant formulations were added.

The fear now is that those cheaper generic versions won't feature some form of abuse deterrence. Without that, they could quickly become the drugs of choice for abusers in a state where more people die from drug overdoses than car wrecks.

U.S. Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers says that puts the state close "to another potential pain pill cliff."

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