Opioid addiction is one of the major problems in the United States (US). President Donald Trump recently announced a tougher stance on drug abuse, which includes a death penalty for anyone dealing with opioids in large quantities, creating awareness through advertising campaigns, and increasing funding for treatment programs. However, this policy change does not address one of the main causes of opioid abuse: prescription painkillers. Statistics show that opioid addiction is more prevalent than cancer and that this addiction is coming from both prescription painkillers and street drugs.
The good news is that many biotechnological companies are filling this gap by working on biopharmaceutical and phytoceutical products that can replace prescription opioids. Biotechnology is gradually revolutionizing the pharmaceutical industry by introducing treatments that are naturally sourced and just as effective as synthetic medicines. Opioids work by altering the chemical composition of the brain and can cause serious addiction. Products developed through biotechnology, on the other hand, are not addictive and work by introducing elements that help the human body function better.
According to Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), “Over the past decade, the biopharmaceutical industry has been working to develop abuse deterrent formulations, with 142 clinical trials initiated and 12 FDA approvals for abuse deterrent pain products.” Although the growth toward an opioid-free world is slow, it appears to be a step in the right direction. With more biotech firms sprouting up, we can expect more approvals for innovative biomedical products in the coming years. BIO has also been working on a plan to get the latest biotech products to patients who need them by setting priorities to expedite FDA approvals.