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LITTLE ROCK - Attorney General Dustin McDaniel and other state attorneys general called on the Food and Drug Administration today to implement new rules that would make generic versions of popular pain relievers more difficult to abuse.

The letter asked the FDA to adopt new standards that require manufacturers and marketers of generic versions of popular prescription drugs to develop tamper- and abuse-resistant versions of their products.

"With physical and chemical changes to generic prescription drugs that make them more difficult to abuse, we can deter the misuse of these drugs," McDaniel said. "The fight against prescription drug abuse requires a comprehensive approach that includes awareness, outreach and prevention efforts such as this one."

Prescription drug abuse is a growing problem nationwide and in Arkansas. A 2011 survey found that one in five Arkansas high school seniors have abused prescription medications. .

Several name-brand versions of prescription painkillers such as OxyContin are already tamper-resistant. That drug's manufacturer has made it more difficult to crush the pills, which abusers do in order to inject or snort the drug. Because of that, nonmedical users of prescription drugs are shifting to versions of painkillers that can more easily be altered, according to the letter from the attorneys general.

The letter states that there is concern within the law enforcement community across the country that many non-tamper-resistant products are available and that only a few drugs have tamper-resistant features.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fatal drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death due to unintentional injury in the United States, exceeding even motor vehicle deaths.

Forty-eight attorneys general signed the letter.


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