The FDA has approved OxyContin use for children as young as 11. The department says this is a symbolic move as many doctors have already been prescribing these medications to children.
Many Senators are concerned with the risks of starting children on the drug so young. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia says his state’s addiction to opioid addiction has proven extremely lethal. He believes a child would be at much higher risk starting opioid use at a younger age.
“You’ve gotta be out of your mind to allow this,” Manchin said.
The FDA says the drug is only meant to be used after other avenues have been exhausted. Additionally, it is only meant for the most severe pain.
Still, senators are not sold on the FDA’s reasoning. Typically before a big move such as this one is made an advisory committee is created in Congress and there is a time period set aside for public comment. The FDA chose not to utilize either option saying their own research was substantial enough to make the decision without Congress.
Manchin and Senator Mark Warner are just two among a group of senators calling for a full investigation into the move.
“ I want to see what process the FDA went through to reach conclusion and what safeguards are going to be in place,” said Warner.
The Washington Bureau reached out to the FDA multiple times for an on camera interview and was declined. The FDA did respond to questions via email.
They said since doctors had already been prescribing this drug to children, the study and subsequent legalization of prescriptions will help doctors prescribe more safely.
Both senators are concerned that drug addicted parents may also use this to their advantage.
“We have seen parents who are addicted to prescription meds do crazy things,” Warner explained. “And I could envision the possibility where they use kids to get drugs for their habit.”
The FDA says they will “… use all tools available to help prevent misues and abuse of OxyContin.”