It has been reported that approximately 25 percent of the people that are prescribed to take painkillers meet the criteria for addiction. And we've recently seen the darker side to painkiller addiction in the form of murder, pharmacy robberies and millions of dollars lost by hospitals that must treat overdose victims.

Amid those ominous overtones, the Food and Drug Administration has approved a new pain pill it claims is designed to discourage abuse by the aforementioned painkiller addicts.

The FDA says this new combination pain pill from the maker of OxyContin combines a long-acting form of the opioid analgesic oxycodone with the medication naloxone, commonly used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

Called Targiniq ER, regulators have approved the new drug for round-the-clock pain that does not respond to other medications. The FDA claims that even if abusers crush the pill for injecting or snorting, the naloxone blocks the euphoric effects of oxycodone, thus the drug is more difficult to abuse.

"The FDA is committed to combating the misuse and abuse of all opioids, and the development of opioids that are harder to abuse is needed in order to help address the public health crisis of prescription drug abuse in the U.S.," explained FDA's Dr. Sharon Hertz.

However, there are those in the medical community that are skeptical the new drug will be effective. And at least one, Dr. Andrew Kolodny, president of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, feels it could actually worsen the crisis by not addressing what he considers to be the real issue.

"If we really want to turn this epidemic around, the most important thing is to stop creating new cases of addiction," he said. "Coming up with new gimmicks isn't going to help."

According to the most recent statistics available the Drug Enforcement Administration, emergency room visits related to hydrocodone abuse have shot up from 19,221 in 2000 to 86,258 in 2009. Recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics reveal that in 2010, nearly 60 percent of all drug overdose deaths involved pharmaceutical drugs -- a total of  22,134 deaths.

"Patients with mental health or substance use disorders are at increased risk for nonmedical use and overdose from prescription painkillers as well as being prescribed high doses of these drugs," explained CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. "Appropriate screening, identification, and clinical management by health-care providers are essential parts of both behavioral health and chronic pain management."

The CDC adds that additional steps need to be taken at the national, state and local levels, as well as by nongovernmental organizations, to help continue the fight to prevent overdoses from prescription drugs.

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