U.S. and World Politics

Pouring Gasoline on the Fire of Opioid Addiction

By Dr. Nayvin Gordon

In May 2016, the Food and Drug Administration rejected KemPharm’s “abuse deterrent” claim for their drug Apadaz. Then in February of 2018, the FDA approved the very same drug, Apadaz, for the management of acute pain, saying it has “a high potential for abuse.” Purdue, the pharmaceutical corporation that hooked America on Oxycontin, wrote in the New York Times on February 7, 2018, “Opioids with abuse-deterrent properties are not abuse-proof and don’t prevent addiction.” This is true for methadone and buprenorphine the most commonly used drugs for addiction maintenance therapy which keeps patients on opioids for years, if not life. Over the last

20 years the FDA has flooded the market with multiple similar-addicting products, which have generated billions of dollars in profits for pharmaceutical corporations. Now the FDA is embarking on a plan to open the floodgates to even more drugs. Only one third of specialty substance abuse programs offer abuse-deterrent drugs. But the FDA wants “to raise the number”1 while deemphasizing non-drug maintenance therapies. The FDA intends to expand the use of opioids, meaning more prescriptions written. 

David Kessler, the past commissioner of the FDA, from 1990-1997 wrote in the New York Times, May 7, 2016, “The more opioids prescribed, the more opioid abuse there will be.”2

Tragically the Government’s Department of Health and Human Services is paying little attention to the root causes of opioid use disorders—the social and economic causes that prevent loving and stable homes for families—stress, insecurity, violence, abuse, unemployment, racism, poverty, anxiety and depression.