According to a recent article in the journal Current Pain and Headache Reports there is no substitute for education when it comes to opioid abuse prevention strategies. The article titled “Current State of Opioid Therapy and Abuse” points out that there are limits to what newer medical technologies designed to thwart opioid abuse can do. According to the author of the article, University of the Pacific professor of pharmacy Dr. Adam Kaye “Education is the foremost strategy. We must educate primary care providers, surgeons, pharmacists, and other health professionals, as well as patients. That education must take place prior to the starting point of opioid therapy — and it needs to be independent of the pharmaceutical industry. Pharmacists have a big responsibility for cutting down opioid abuse and deaths, whether it’s Prince or other celebrities or the guy down the street. We have to be part of primary education efforts.”
The article on opioid abuse prevention strategies looked at 3 medical technologies designed to prevent abuse of these drugs. There are physical barriers, sequestered aversion agents, and sequestered opioid antagonists. There are limits for each type of strategy covered, and education can be the most effective way of preventing a patient from abusing this category of drugs. Both physical barriers and sequestered aversion agents can prevent accidental overdose but these will not stop someone intent on abusing the drug if they are motivated to do so. The opioid antagonist method can prevent intentional misuse but it could also result in severe withdrawal symptoms for anyone who is already addicted to these drugs.