Generic versions of popular pain relievers must be made harder to abuse, Attorney General Tim Fox and 47 other state and territorial attorneys general told federal officials in a letter sent today by the National Association of Attorneys General.
The letter encourages the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to adopt standards requiring manufacturers and marketers of generic prescription painkillers to develop tamper- and abuse-resistant versions of their products.
“Prescription drug abuse is evolving into one of the most important drug issues in Montana as well as in our nation,” said Attorney General Tim Fox. “We’re talking about drugs that are easy for people to access at home, making them potentially more insidious and dangerous than illegal drugs in some cases. That’s why the Montana Department of Justice supports Senate Joint Resolution 20 this legislative session, which requests an interim study of prescription drug abuse and its effects on Montanans.” Prescription pain relievers are among the most commonly abused drugs. Name-brand versions of painkillers such as OxyContin have taken steps to make it more difficult to abuse their drugs, for example by 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. 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 the following states and territories signed onto the letter: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.