The Food and Drug Administration is releasing new drug labeling guidelines that will affect narcotic painkillers such as oxycodone, morphine, and other opioids that come in long-lasting and extended-release forms. These new labels are intended to caution doctors from prescribing these drugs unless it is absolutely necessary, as in cases where patients are in extreme pain and require continual treatment. These drugs only account for 10% of all opioid prescriptions. However, opioids are causing continual overdose and addiction problems, leading to tens of thousands of deaths per year. The new labeling system will warn doctors to prescribe the drugs less often, and will also require drug manufacturers to undertake research that will show what doses and modes of use of these drugs are most harmful. When used, opioids dampen the perception of pain and can induce an addictive feeling of euphoria. Some types of opioids that are fast-acting, such as hydrocodone are not affected by the new labels. Those opposed to the overuse and frequent prescribing of opioids argue that the new FDA rules are insufficient and will do nothing to truly stop the dangers posed by these strong pain-killers.
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