The FDA Warns That More Drugs Could Be Abused

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Addiction makes many victims among Americans. This issue makes the Food and Drug Administration take a step in warning that non-opioid painkillers could be used abusively.

The FDA officials Douglas C. Throckmorton, Scott Gottlieb, and Janet Woodcock have published a letter on Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine. They warn that there will surely be a wave of drug abuse, this time with non-opioid painkillers:

“We must be aware that any decisive actions taken to reduce prescription opioid abuse and stem the tide of overdose and death can have unintended consequences, including prompting people to turn to alternative, potentially dangerous substances.”

In the US, in 2016, over 42,000 people died because of opioids, and 40% of the overdose deaths were cases that involved prescription opioids, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Opioids Abuse Falls, But Abuse of Their Substitutes Could Rise

The FDA officials said that the number of opioid abuse is now reducing, and doctors are encouraged to prescribe alternatives to opioids. People in pain are getting new therapeutics. But the abuse of prescription opioids could shift to abuse in opioid substitutes.

The agency explains which substances could be the next ones to start a wave of drug abuse. There are gabapentinoids, loperamide, benzodiazepines, and kratom.

Gabapentinoids are used in the treatment of seizures and neuropathic pain. Loperamide is an over-the-counter drug for treating diarrhea. Benzodiazepines treat anxiety and kratom is a plant-based drug known to be used as an opium substitute.

The FDA said that they got the latest trends in drug addiction by monitoring internet forums, social media, and any public messages to detect patterns worthy of concern. Opioid substitutes are safe to use when done properly. Misusing them is what the FDA is concerned about.

The authors of the letter concluded that:

“We will need to understand and be ready to respond to such challenges. The right approach to regulating these substances is best determined through a multifaceted system of pharmacovigilance, using various tools to mine traditional and new sources of epidemiologic data, assess products’ pharmacologic properties, and evaluate the social contexts in which substances are being used.”

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Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.


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2 Comments

  1. Well, seeing as though people have been using kratom for literally hundreds of years, safely and without ill effects in southeast Asia, I’d say its quite disingenuous to pretend like its some “new drug” just hitting the streets to replace the opiate epidemic that good doctor Gottlieb had a heavy hand in helping create. Thankfully, the people see right through his motives which most definitely are not pure and are certainly driven by profit margins for his pharma masters. We will fight him at every step of the way on this and will preserve the people freedom to use this all natural substance in the supposed “land of the free”.

  2. I’ve been taken Kratom to help with my anxiety there is nothing recreational about it. Why don’t you take for yourself and find out what a HUGE let down it is as far as its use as a recreational drug? The effects that you feel are no more powerful then Benadryl maybe a slight mood increase but no better than say Saint John’s Wort or some of the other herbs that claim they increase mood. If somebody a friend said hey man let’s go do some Kratom I’d laugh my ass off. There is nothing there that really makes you high that way. Take some it won’t kill and find out yourself instead of misinforming thousands of people.

    Tim

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