Press Release

New Report Offers Ways to Fight Prescription Opioid Abuse

Report estimates prescription opioid abuse costs $55.7 billion when health care, workplace and criminal justice costs are tallied

Arlington, VA (January 27, 2016)— An estimated 15.7 million people aged 12 or older have used prescription drugs non-medically in the past year, according to a new report, Optimizing the Abuse-Deterrent Opioids Market, released today by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

Written by Dr. Wayne Winegarden, the new report explores the benefits of abuse-deterrent formulations (ADFs) of prescription opioids and offers lawmakers recommendations on how to expand patient access to the new technologies when addressing addiction issues in their states. In 2008, the record of abuse and misuse of prescription opioids accounted for an estimated $55.7 million in healthcare, workplace and criminal justice costs.

“Some regions of the United States are experiencing a crisis with prescription opioid abuse and misuse, and elected officials are looking at all options to help individuals and families overcome addiction,” said Mia Heck, Director of the ALEC Task Force on Health and Human Services. “Any way we can educate lawmakers about allowing access to abuse deterrent opioids for pain patients at higher risk for addiction could give many a new lease on life.”

“Effective and targeted legislation can address existing regulatory disincentives, allowing the abuse-deterrent opioids to compete in the medical marketplace based on their medical efficacy,” writes Dr. Winegarden in the report. “Correcting the disincentives that discourage appropriate use of abuse-deterrent opioids is a reform opportunity that addresses an important health need, reduces overall health care expenditures, lowers criminal justice costs, and beneficially impacts overall workplace productivity.”

The full report can be found here.

Optimizing the Abuse-deterrent Opioids Market analyzes prescription opioid abuse in the United States and outlines policy solutions for state lawmakers to consider when addressing this issue. Many states face regulatory and legislative barriers that make it difficult or unlikely for patients to access new abuse-deterrent opioid formulations. This report offers research and suggested opportunities for state lawmakers interested in increasing patient access to medical technologies that treat pain and help prevent opioid abuse.

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