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Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen and 41 Other Attorneys General Call for Tamper-Resistant Versions of Generic Prescription Pain Relievers

MADISON — Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen and 41 other state and territorial attorneys general sent a letter yesterday to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), urging it to require manufacturers of generic prescription pain relievers to develop tamper-resistant versions of their products. Prescription drug abuse has reached epidemic levels in many states; requiring abuse-deterrent pain killing prescription drugs (opioids) is a commonsense improvement that provides yet another important tool in the fight against this epidemic.


In their letter, the attorneys general thanked the FDA for its recent efforts to require abuse-deterrent formulations for branded opioid drugs; however, they also urged the FDA to go further by ensuring that generic opioids, like their branded counterparts, have abuse-deterrent properties.  A copy of letter is available here.


“Wisconsin residents have participated heavily in the past in the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, dropping off more than 19 tons of unused and unwanted prescription drugs this past October to prevent their misuse and abuse -- Wisconsin ranked 4th in the nation in the total amount collected,” Attorney General Van Hollen said.  “The State of Wisconsin, its law enforcement and citizens are working hard to prevent prescription drug abuse and Heroin abuse, which often follows.  I’m hopeful our partners at the federal level will heed our call to require generic opioids to have tamper-resistant properties as their branded counterparts already do.”  


Attorneys general remain in the national forefront combating prescription abuse by promoting prescription drug-take back efforts, spearheading legislative and law enforcement initiatives in their respective jurisdictions, and mandating state-level prescription drug monitoring programs.


The 42 attorneys general who signed the NAAG letter include: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.


In September, Attorney General Van Hollen introduced a statewide public awareness campaign to prevent Heroin use.  The multimedia campaign, The Fly Effect, was developed by the Wisconsin Department of Justice to educate teens, young adults and others about Heroin.  As part of the campaign, former users as well the parents of former users – some of whom have passed away from Heroin abuse – shared their personal stories to illustrate the devastating impact of Heroin on addicts and their families.  One of the individuals featured, Mandy, transitioned from abusing Oxycontin as a teenager to abusing Heroin after her dealer suggested she try it.  Law enforcement, community groups, families and others are encouraged to view and to share the materials available online at  Downloadable materials (including posters, brochures, fact sheets and other resources) from The Fly Effect also are available at the DOJ’s website at