Many scientists across the nation have begun rethinking the approach to pharmaceutical creation. Rather than starting from a blank slate, it has become much more efficient—in both time and money—to repurpose drugs that have already been approved by the FDA, using them in novel ways to fight disease. And it’s one of the reasons researchers at the Texas A&M Health Science Center are using ketamine, a drug that already exists as an anesthetic, to treat pain.
Heroin use has increased a staggering 63 percent over the last 10 years according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That increase, according to the agency, is closely tied to the growing abuse of prescription opioids; an alarming 45 percent of Americans addicted to heroin are also addicted to prescription opioids.
Every 25 seconds, someone loses their life to a prescription drug overdose; and in 2012, drug overdoses were the leading cause of injury death among 25-to-64 year olds. Pharmacist Bree Watzak discusses what the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy is doing to prepare students to combat prescription drug abuse that leads to overdoses, and what national initiatives are on the horizon.