Tamper-proof pills help fight opioid addiction

Nationwide last year, 33,000 people died as a result of opioid overdoses

MIAMI, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) - They are prescribed by doctors for pain. But every day in the United States people are dying due to opioid addiction. Now new technology making these pills tamper proof, may save more lives.

“Nationwide last year, 33,000 deaths as a result of opioid overdoses," David Scharf, Department of Community Programs, Broward Sheriff’s Office told Ivanhoe.

Scott Kjelson knows what it’s like to lose someone to an opioid addiction. His mom got hooked after she was prescribed pain pills.

“My mom was doctor shopping and she found doctors literally that would say here’s 90 Percocets,” Scott Kjelson, PharmD, CPh, explained.

WATCH – Opioid Nation: An American Epidemic

Experts say prescription drug abuse has become an epidemic in this country.

David Mastropietro, PhD, Assistant Professor at Nova Southeastern University said, “It affects all people at all walks of life, from adolescents all the way up to the elderly and seniors.”

Abusers usually crush the pills in order to snort or inject the drug to get high. That’s why researchers at Nova Southeastern University have developed medications that deter this kind of abuse.

“So it’s crush resistant, it’s like a PVC pipe, it’s very resistant, it’s very hard, it’s very difficult to crush it into fine powder for snorting.” Hamid Omidian, PhD, Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Nova Southeastern University explained.

And if abusers try to liquefy the pill, it turns into a solid gel.

READ MORE: Hospital or morgue: Where an overdose will take you

Omidian continued, “It’s going to be impossible for an abuser to draw that solution into a syringe and then inject it.”

But if taken orally as intended, the technology doesn’t lessen the effectiveness of the medication.

Kjelson said, “If the physicians had a deterrent medication they would be alert to what to educate their patients on.”

Scott wishes this type of technology was available when his mother was alive. Now he only has his memories.

“I hope I can prevent other families from going through what I went through,” Kjelson explained.

Keeping hope alive in the battle against a dangerous addiction.

Researchers at NSU hope that the pharmaceutical manufacturers will be licensing their abuse-deterrent technologies once the FDA starts mandating abuse-deterrent medications. For more information click here.

Contributors to this news report include: Janna Ross, Field Producer; Judy Reich, Videographer; Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Gabriella Battistiol, Assistant Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.

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