Disrupting the supply of opioids is intended to reduce abuse by making opioids harder to get. But disruptions can have unintended consequences. For example, when OxyContin was reformulated in 2010 to make it harder to abuse, OxyContin overdoses fell. However, dependent users switched to other drugs, including heroin and fentanyl. As much as 80% of the increase in heroin mortality in the years since 2010 may be due to the reformulation.
Better ways to monitor and track illegal drugs could help intervene in the black market. Investments are needed to improve surveillance and data collection.