As the opioid crisis rages across the United States, a new analysis contends there is a lack of evidence that pills designed to deter abuse are truly effective in reducing overall opioid abuse and, moreover, the cost to prevent a single case of abuse or an overdose death may appear prohibitive.

After reviewing available studies, a panel of experts concluded data to support most of the so-called abuse deterrent formulations is “promising, but inconclusive,” given that some pills are new to the market or not yet available. And while studies indicated OxyContin, specifically, is harder to abuse, all of the drugs may shift people to other forms of opioids, notably heroin or fentanyl.

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