NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

April 24, 2014

Patrick's drug policy has the wrong focus

(Continued)

Because some people foolishly abuse powerful drugs, Patrick would deny law-abiding people relief from agonizing pain.

Rather than focus on the life-changing health benefits such therapy can provide for patients, Patrick’s public health policies focus instead on those who willfully abuse such drugs. Zohydro is sold in a form that can be crushed, then snorted or injected by addicts. Zogenix said it is working on a crush-proof version of the drug. But Patrick had said the ban would remain in place until the tamper-resistant version received approval.

Patrick said in a statement that this was another instance of a drug maker putting profits over public health. But the state was unlikely to appeal the ruling, he said.

“Addiction is a serious enough problem already in Massachusetts without having to deal with another addictive narcotic painkiller sold in a form that isn’t tamper proof,” Patrick said in a statement. “We will turn our attention now to other means to address this public health crisis.”

The Patrick administration has its public health priorities in reverse. Most medications that relieve human suffering also have the potential for abuse. Sound public health policy ought to place a priority on those who use these potent drugs properly to treat their debilitating pain, rather on those who recklessly abuse them and fall into a trap of addiction that is of their own making.

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