New oxycontin pills prevent abuse

FRESNO, Calif.

This tiny, 40-milligram oxycontin pill looks nearly identical to Purdue Pharmaceuticals' original version of the painkiller. The only real visible difference is the old pill had the letters "OC" and this new pill has "OP" imprinted on it.

Fresno pharmacist Darren Lew says the physical effects of this pain reliever, however, are much more noticeable. "First of all its extended release so that means it's meant to absorb slowly over a number of hours so let's say you had an 80mg pill not all 80 mg is going in at once."

Purdue pharmaceuticals changed oxycontin pill after mounting pressure from the federal drug enforcement agency which calls abuse of oxycontin is rampant.

Some drug addicts crush, melt and then inject the powerful pill to get an intense high off the drug. The new "OP" pill won't let them do that because it melts into a gel consistency which cannot be injected.

"If you were to cut it, chew it or crush it or in any way affect the integrity of the pill the sustain-release characteristics of it are gone."

Lew says drug addicts trying to manipulate the pill won't get the more powerful high off the drug they're looking for.

Flindt Andersen-- the president and founder of "prescription abusers in need" or P.A.I.N. says the new oxycontin pill sounds great in theory but won't stop people from finding ways to abuse the drug.

Andersen believes drug addicts will still have access to generic versions of the drug. "What I firmly believe is we have to get to the physicians, in order for the physicians to not prescribe this medication"

Darren Lew says most people tell him the new pill is working just as effectively.

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