Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt and 47 other state and territorial attorneys general told federal officials today that generic versions of popular pain relievers must be made harder to abuse.
The letter from the National Association of Attorneys General encourages the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to adopt standards requiring manufacturers and marketers of generic prescription painkillers to develop tamper-resistant versions of their products.
“Adding new tamper-resistant features to prescription painkillers will reduce misuse of these drugs and help prevent deadly consequences,” Attorney General Schmidt said. “This safety measure can be part of a comprehensive approach of prevention, interdiction, prosecution and substance-abuse treatment.”
Prescription drug abuse is on the rise across the country, and prescription pain relievers are among the most commonly abused drugs. Producers of name-brand versions of painkillers such as OxyContin have taken steps to make it more difficult to abuse their drugs. Safety measures include making it harder to crush pills which abusers do in order to inject or snort the drug.
When abused or used incorrectly, prescription drugs can be deadly, according to the attorney general's office. Fatal drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death due to unintentional injury in the United States exceeding even motor vehicle deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Attorneys general from Missouri, Colorado, Nebraska and Oklahoma were among the other 47 states asking for stricter measures.