Pubdate: Sun, 16 Jan 2005
Source: Eagle-Tribune, The (MA)
Copyright: 2005 The Eagle-Tribune

Index -- Special On Opiate Use (Eagle-Tribune) --


Sad really, that it's come to this, but Purdue Pharma,  the Connecticut 
firm that manufactures OxyContin, is spending $200 million in an  attempt 
to develop a "smart pill" that would prevent its pain medication 
from  being used illegally. The illegal use of the powerful prescription 
painkiller has become a public relations and legal nightmare for the firm, 
which, according to their representatives, is throwing all available 
resources at thwarting potential  abusers.

Those efforts, company officials told Eagle-Tribune editors last week, 
include communitywide drug awareness programs, physician education 
campaigns, cooperation with law enforcement personnel, high-tech caps that 
would allow authorities to trace individual bottles of the medicine, and 
research into new ways of administering the medication. The so-called 
"smart pill" would allow the medicine to retain its effectiveness if taken 
as prescribed, but contain a chemical which, if the pill  were to be 
crushed into a powder -- which is the way abusers prefer it in order  to 
get the maximum dosage in a minimum amount of time -- would render the drug 
inert. Of course we liked best the solution suggested by Clay Yeager, the 
director of community partnerships for Purdue, who said he was inspired by 
a comment by the late Mother Teresa. Noting that unlike too many children 
in Third World countries who experience malnutrition due to lack of food, 
she had observed that  American children seem to suffer from "malnutrition 
of the heart." What's needed more than new formulas or public relations 
campaigns, Yeager said, are parents who care and won't give up on their 
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