New Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health research suggests that primary care physicians lack necessary understanding of opioid medications’ abuse potential and the role of abuse deterrent formulations. In a report published online in the Clinical Journal of Pain, the researchers found that nearly half of the internists, family physicians and general practitioners that they surveyed incorrectly thought that abuse-deterrent pills (such as those formulated with physical barriers to prevent their being crushed and snorted or injected) were actually less addictive than their standard counterparts. In fact, the pills are equally addictive and the most common method of abuse for any prescription drug is oral.
The survey was a nationally representative sample of 1,000 primary care physicians, approached between February and May 2014, examining their knowledge, attitudes and beliefs regarding prescription drug abuse. Questions focused not only on opioid abuse and diversion, but also respondent support for clinical and regulatory interventions that may reduce opioid-related injuries and deaths. Most respondents expressed strong support for preventative measures such as prescription drug monitoring databases and “patient contracts,” but the general lack of implementation of these programs around the country indicates that the support has not translated into practice.
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