Pain is a persistent problem in this country. It affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
Pain can be chronic or acute, and can be a precursor to or consequence of a wide range of medical problems. The NIH also notes that chronic pain affects approximately one of every four people in this country. Some of them are children, and now these children will have access to a powerful and addictive painkiller.
Last month the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of the narcotic drug OxyContin in children as young as 11 who regularly experience chronic pain that has not responded to other treatments. FDA officials have noted that the drug has been “massively” used off-label since the 1990s to treat children in severe pain – except with no specific instructions on usage, dosage, timing, or side effects. So, in their view, this latest development is a win.