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Larissa Doucette

Since the introduction of tamper-resistant OxyContin in 2010, abuse of other prescription opioids, as well as heroin, has increased, report researchers from Washington University in St Louis. The reformulated pill is more difficult to crush or dissolve, helping to prevent ingestion by inhalation or injection of dissolved medicine, means used by some abusers to get around the time-release effect of the drug. Researchers found that the change did result in a significant reduction in abuse of OxyContin. However, abuse of prescription opioids including fentanyl (Duragesic®), hydromorphone (Dilaudid®), and oxymorphone (Opana), as well as abuse of heroin, has climbed from about 20% to 32%. Researchers surveyed 2,566 patients entering treatment for opioid-dependency, and found that the number of patients abusing OxyContin fell from 35% to about 13% when comparing time periods before and after the introduction of the new formulation. More information about the study is available in a MedPage Today article.