Doctors. law enforcement agencies, and addiction treatment specialists have been disappointed with the recent approval by the FDA of a new drug call Zohydro, which many medical experts believe is the most dangerous opiate to hit the market to date.
Many other experts believe that the drug, in addition to being highly addictive and dangerous in and of itself, may be a gateway to heroin use.
An Epidemic of Addiction
News of the approval of Zohydro was surprising to many doctors and addiction counselors for a number of reasons, not least of which is the fact that it comes at a time when many areas in the United States are facing rampant instances of heroin and opiate use and addiction. Deaths from both heroin and opiate overdoses have been on the rise, and governments and medical professionals are struggling to find ways to stem the tide of this deadly epidemic.
Many healthcare experts believe that the rises in heroin and opiate use are problems that are closely correlated. This seems to be evidenced in the fact that measures such as cracking down on the distribution of opiates has been tied to increased heroin usage in some areas and vice versa.
There seems to be a overwhelming belief that the rise in heroin deaths and addictions may be due in part to the fact that many more people have become addicted to opiates in the last decade, as the ready availability of said drugs has become much more common.
Zohydro: A Uniquely Dangerous Drug
Many of the opiates currently on the market in the United States are considered dangerous because of their addictive nature and the fact that it is very easy to overdose on them, especially when they are paired with other drugs, such as alcohol.
Zohydro is considered by most doctors and pharmacists to be even more deadly than any other prescription drug on the market. One reason for this is the fact that Zohydro carries a much stronger and more potent amount of opiates.This means that it may be even easier for a person to become addicted to Zohydro than almost any other prescription opiate. The way in which Zohydro is manufactured also lends itself to illicit use.
With so many prescription drugs available, it certainly raises concern about the abuse of opioids. Many other types of prescription drugs are pressed in a way that makes them difficult to crush and snort, but no such safeguards have been placed on Zohydro, which may make it much more likely for people with addictions, perhaps even young adults and teens, to abuse.
The FDA Approves Drug Against Advice of the AMA
The approval of Zohydro came as a surprise to many people in the medical community because of the fact that so many medical professionals had advised so strongly against approving it, especially in light of the recent heroin epidemic. A majority of doctors in the American Medical Association advised against approving the drug, but the FDA decided against heeding their advice.
Since the drug has been approved and has been available for prescription since March of 2014, many doctors and pharmacists are pleading with manufacturers and the FDA to find ways of limiting the drug's dangers, perhaps by changing the way in which the drug is manufactured.
Future of Zohydro Unclear
There appears to be no intent on the part of the FDA to pull Zohydro from the market and many patient's rights activists worry that it will take a number of tragedies before the dangerous drug may be pulled from the FDA's approved list.
In the mean time, doctors and counselors are urging people to inform themselves and their loved ones about the dangers of Zohydro.