Assessing New Medicines for Potential Abuse, Right from the Start

The abuse of prescription medications is reaching epidemic proportions worldwide.  Some judge prescription drug abuse to be as prevalent and as deadly as an epidemic caused by an infectious agent. Consider recent news reports about an HIV outbreak in a rural Indiana town that resulted from widespread addiction to a prescription painkillerCovance Labs Safety Pills.

The tragedy of Austin, Indiana is the tip of the iceberg. Prescription drug abuse is responsible for 16,000 deaths annually in the United States, a number that’s rising steadily. Meanwhile, 52 million people over age 12 in the US — nearly 1 in 6 — have misused prescription drugs, 6 million of them in the past month alone. Continue reading