Novus Medical Detox Center Calls for Regulators to Support New Anti-Abuse Technologies

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As the opioid overdose death toll continues to rise, Novus Medical Detox Center advocates for policies and regulations to embrace innovative new technologies that are designed to prevent opioid abuse.

Bryn Wesch, CFO of Novus Medical Detox Center, urges regulators to back anti-abuse technologies

There is no single, simple solution to the U.S. opioid crisis, which has been years in the making. However, new anti-abuse technologies are one way to help prevent diversion and misuse.

The U.S. societal costs of opioid misuse, dependence and abuse were estimated to be $55.7 billion as of 2007;(1) and given that opioid overdose deaths have climbed over 31% since then,(2) those costs have continued to rise. Novus Medical Detox Center, a leading Florida-based drug treatment facility, believes technological innovations show promise in helping to deter opioid abuse. However, Novus emphasizes that regulations and policies must promote those anti-abuse technologies in conjunction with education and drug treatment programs to ensure optimal outcomes.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already approved seven opioid formulations with abuse-deterrent properties, and others are currently in development or awaiting approval.(3) Advanced technologies make the new pills difficult to crush or create a gooey consistency when crushed, which deters users from inhaling or injecting the drugs for a faster, more intense high. Other abuse-deterrent formulations combine opioids with naloxone or naltrexone, which blocks the effects of opioids if the pills are crushed rather than orally administered.(3)

Some experts have expressed concern that government regulations often hinder the adoption of these types of anti-abuse technologies. For example, newer tamper-resistant drugs may be excluded from state Medicaid formularies, while lengthy FDA review and approval processes may delay the rollout of promising new innovations.(4)

“There is no single, simple solution to the U.S. opioid crisis, which has been years in the making. However, new anti-abuse technologies are one way to help prevent diversion and misuse,” explained Bryn Wesch, CFO of Novus Medical Detox Center. “Federal and state regulations should be continually assessed and updated to ensure they promote access to the most effective and innovative treatments, and FDA processes should be analyzed and accelerated where possible.”

At the same time, Wesch stresses that abuse-deterrent and tamper-resistant formulations should not be misconstrued as abuse-proof, since orally ingesting excessive quantities of the medications can still result in overdoses and other adverse effects. Even “bridge drugs” intended to help users overcome opioid addiction—including buprenorphine/naloxone combinations such as Suboxone—are subject to diversion and can lead to dependency.

“Beyond promoting new technologies and expediting FDA reviews, government agencies should focus on educating the public of the risks associated with prescription opioids, supporting research and development of non-opioid alternatives, and expanding access to detox and drug rehab programs,” asserted Wesch. “This type of multi-pronged approach is the best way to prevent the growing trend of opioid misuse and abuse while helping those with opioid use disorders achieve a successful long-term recovery.”

Finally, Wesch advocates for better use of an existing but currently underutilized technology: prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs). She believes regulators should require all healthcare professionals to consult PDMP data before issuing an opioid prescription, which can help identify potential cases of abuse or diversion. Wesch would also like to see expanded PDMP interoperability between states, so physicians and pharmacists can get a complete picture of all medications prescribed to a patient, regardless of where they obtained or filled the prescription.

Novus offers medically supervised detox programs, including customized treatment plans designed to minimize the discomfort of opioid withdrawal. The Florida drug detox facility provides individualized care based on proven medical protocols, with 24-hour access to nursing staff and withdrawal specialists. Novus is renowned for its expertise in treating high-dose methadone cases, and is proficient in detoxing patients from other high-dose opioids and “bridge drugs” just as safely, comfortably and effectively.

For more information on Novus Medical Detox Center and its opioid treatment programs, visit http://www.novusdetox.com.

About Novus Medical Detox Center:
Novus Medical Detox Center has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for Behavioral Health Care Accreditation as an inpatient medical detox facility. Licensed by the Florida Department of Children and Families, Novus provides safe, effective alcohol and drug treatment programs that are based on proven medical protocols and designed to minimize the discomfort of withdrawal. The facility is located on 3.25 acres in New Port Richey, Florida, in a tranquil, spa-like setting bordering protected conservation land. Intent on proving that detox doesn’t have to be painful or degrading, Novus set out to transform the industry by bringing humanity into medical detox with individually customized treatment programs and 24/7 access to nursing care and withdrawal specialists. Today, Novus is renowned as a champion of industry standardization and a staunch advocate of patients fighting to overcome substance use disorders. Frequently recognized for its contributions to the industry and local community, Novus has become a regular source to media publications such as The Wall Street Journal and USA Today, and has ranked in the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s Fast 50, the Florida Business Journal’s Top 500 and the Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing companies. For more information on Novus’ medically supervised detox programs, visit http://novusdetox.com.

1. Birnbaum, Howard G.; Alan G. White; et al. “Societal Costs of Prescription Opioid Abuse, Dependence, and Misuse in the United States”; Pain Medicine; April 2011. painmedicine.oxfordjournals.org/content/12/4/657.long

2. CDC/NCHS. “Number and Age-Adjusted Rates of Drug-Poisoning Deaths Involving Opioid Analgesics and Heroin: United States, 2000–2014”; National Vital Statistics System, Mortality File; December 9, 2015. cdc.gov/nchs/data/health_policy/AADR_drug_poisoning_involving_OA_Heroin_US_2000-2014.pdf

3. Throckmorton, Dr. Douglas C. “Key Facts About ‘Abuse-Deterrent’ Opioids”; blog post on FDA website; October 28, 2016. blogs.fda.gov/fdavoice/index.php/2016/10/key-facts-about-abuse-deterrent-opioids/

4. Winegarden, Wayne for EconoSTATS. “Regulations Should Promote Innovative Opioid Abuse Technologies”; Forbes; November 14, 2016. forbes.com/sites/econostats/2016/11/14/regulations-should-promote-innovative-opioid-abuse-technologies/#29474b224750

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