Generic pain pills should be harder to abuse, Maine attorney general tells FDA

Posted March 11, 2013, at 2:39 p.m.
Last modified March 11, 2013, at 3:52 p.m.
Janet Mills
John Clarke Russ | BDN
Janet Mills Buy Photo

AUGUSTA, Maine — Attorneys general around the country, including Maine Attorney General Janet Mills, are seeking to make pain relieving pills more difficult to abuse.

Mills was among 48 members of the National Association of Attorneys General who signed a letter sent to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration encouraging it to adopt standards requiring manufacturers and marketers of generic prescription painkillers to develop tamper- and abuse-resistant versions of their products.

“We are asking the FDA to require generic producers to take the same steps that producers of brand-name opioid painkillers have taken to make it harder to use their products illegally,” Mills said in a statement released Monday. “Misuse and abuse of pain pills is a terrible problem in Maine. It is the No. 1 cause of crimes.”

Maine has one of the highest per-capita rates of drug abuse nationwide, according to Mills, with prescription pain relievers among the most commonly abused drugs.

Manufacturers of painkillers such as OxyContin have taken steps to make it more difficult to abuse the drug by making it harder for consumers to crush pills to inject or snort the drugs.

“There is great concern in our law enforcement community that many non-tamper-resistant products are available for abuse when only a few products have been formulated with tamper-resistant features,” the attorneys general wrote in their letter to the FDA.

Fatal drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death due to unintentional injury in the country, exceeding car accidents, according to the letter.

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