7 Myths About Opioids with Abuse-Deterrent Properties

SEPTEMBER 06, 2016
Katie Eder, Director of Content
There are many misconceptions surrounding pain management, especially when it comes to opioids with abuse-deterrent properties (OADPs).
To help pharmacists and other health care professionals separate the myths from the facts about OADPs, J. David Haddox, DDS, MD, and Ellen Battista, NP, led an interactive session with live audience polling on the subject at PAINWeek 2016.
Here are 7 myths and misconceptions pharmacists should debunk for their colleagues and patients:
Myth #1: Most current nonmedical users of opioids obtain the drug they abuse from a dealer.
Poll results: 93% said myth, 7% said fact
The fact is that most nonmedical opioid users obtain the drug from a friend or relative. According to combined data from the 2013-2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), half of nonmedical users received opioids from friends or relatives for free, while another 15% bought or stole them from a friend or relative. In other words, two-thirds of nonmedical opioid users obtained the drug from friends or family.

“What that tells me, as a physician and a pharmaceutical executive, is that there is a lot of unaccounted for medicine out there in our collective medicine chest just waiting to be diverted, possibly with disastrous consequences,” Dr. Haddox told Plantsvszombies.info.
Meanwhile, 22% nonmedical users reported obtaining opioids from one doctor. Just 0.1% said they bought them on the Internet.
Myth #2: The number of individuals abusing opioids is at an epidemic level.
Poll results: 88% said fact, 12% said myth
Believe it or not, opioid abuse is not an epidemic, but an endemic. The devil is in the definitions, as epidemic relates to a rapid spread of disease to a large population over a short period time, while endemic means a disease or condition is regularly growing or existing among a particular population or certain area.
By definition, opioid abuse is at an endemic level because the number of individuals abusing opioids has not changed much in over 12 years, according to NSDUH statistics.

“That doesn’t mean the problem isn’t serious, because there are about 4.3 million people who are doing this in any given month, but that is endemic,” Dr. Haddox explained. “What is an epidemic is the deaths that are involving opioids often with other substances. That is really an epidemic curve that is taking off in the wrong direction.”