University of Tasmania

File(s) under permanent embargo

Methods and predictors of tampering with a tamper-resistant controlled-release oxycodone formulation

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-18, 11:45 authored by Amy PeacockAmy Peacock, Degenhardt, L, Hordern, A, Larance, B, Cama, E, White, N, Kihas, I, Raimondo BrunoRaimondo Bruno
Background: In April 2014, a tamper-resistant controlled-release oxycodone formulation was introduced into the Australian market. This study aimed to identify the level and methods of tampering with reformulated oxycodone, demographic and clinical characteristics of those who reported tampering with reformulated oxycodone, and perceived attractiveness of original and reformulated oxycodone for misuse (via tampering).

Methods: A prospective cohort of 522 people who regularly tampered with pharmaceutical opioids and had tampered with the original oxycodone product in their lifetime completed two interviews before (January-March 2014: Wave 1) and after (May-August 2014: Wave 2) introduction of reformulated oxycodone.

Results: Four-fifths (81%) had tampered with the original oxycodone formulation in the month prior to Wave 1; use and attempted tampering with reformulated oxycodone amongst the sample was comparatively low at Wave 2 (29% and 19%, respectively). Reformulated oxycodone was primarily swallowed (15%), with low levels of recent successful injection (6%), chewing (2%), drinking/dissolving (1%), and smoking (<1%). Participants who tampered with original and reformulated oxycodone were socio-demographically and clinically similar to those who had only tampered with the original formulation, except the former were more likely to report prescribed oxycodone use and stealing pharmaceutical opioid, and less likely to report moderate/severe anxiety. There was significant diversity in the methods for tampering, with attempts predominantly prompted by self-experimentation (rather than informed by word-of-mouth or the internet). Participants rated reformulated oxycodone as more difficult to prepare and inject and less pleasant to use compared to the original formulation.

Conclusion: Current findings suggest that the introduction of the tamper-resistant product has been successful at reducing, although not necessarily eliminating, tampering with the controlled-release oxycodone formulation, with lower attractiveness for misuse. Appropriate, effective treatment options must be available with increasing availability of abuse-deterrent products, given the reduction of oxycodone tampering and use amongst a group with high rates of pharmaceutical opioid dependence.


National Health & Medical Research Council


Publication title

International Journal of Drug Policy










School of Psychological Sciences


Elsevier BV

Place of publication


Rights statement

?Copyright 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Public health (excl. specific population health) not elsewhere classified