Pennsylvania Sees Abuse of ‘Narco-Pops’

Pennsylvania Attorney General Jerry Pappert has warned that a narcotic painkiller lollipop is being abused because of its ease of use and sweet taste, the Associated Press reported April 28.

Actiq, dubbed the “perc-a-pop,” is designed to provide pain relief for young cancer patients. But Pappert said law-enforcement officials are seeing a growing trend in illegal street sales of the drug.

Manufactured by Cephalon Inc., Actiq is a berry-flavored lozenge on a stick that contains the synthetic opioid fentanyl. The drug is absorbed when the user rubs the lozenge against the inside of the cheek.

“We’re starting to see it emerge as a drug that is … diverted,” said Kevin Harley, spokesman for state Attorney General Jerry Pappert. “It’s a drug that is easily administered or taken by somebody who might be afraid to either take a pill, snort, or inject a needle in their arm.”

Stacey Backhardt, spokeswoman for Cephalon, said, “there has not been a substantial diversion of this product in the state or elsewhere.” However, she added that, “like any opioid, there is a potential for misuse.”