On April 19, 2011, the Obama administration announced a multi-agency plan to combat the “epidemic” of prescription drug abuse. The plan includes a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) education program that focuses on reducing the misuse and misprescribing of long-acting and extended-release opioids. The FDA’s efforts will also include support for physician training of best practices for the safe use of these pain medications. Opioids are synthetic versions of opium that are used to treat moderate and severe pain. Over the past few decades, drug makers have developed extended-release opioid formulas to treat people in pain over a long period.
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