A prescription vial of Vicodin.

A prescription vial of Vicodin.

In the past decade, heroin use has surged 63 percent, a crisis the Centers for Disease Control says has roots in prescription drug addiction — particularly to opiate painkillers with names like OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin. To break this chain of addiction, drug makers have responded by creating abuse-deterrent formulations — pills that treat pain in patients who take them as directed, but become ineffective when crushed, snorted or injected. While not yet widely adopted, abuse-deterrent painkillers are becoming an important weapon in the fight against opiate drug addiction. More than 30 abuse-deterrent painkillers are currently in development, and several states including Maryland require insurers to cover them. Kojo explores the promise and peril these newly formulated painkillers hold for doctors, patients, and those struggling with addiction.


  • Dr. Abraham Cherrick Physical Medicine and Pain Management Specialist, National Spine & Pain Centers
  • Dan Cohen Chair, Abuse Deterrent Coalition

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