Looks Like Zohydro Will be Next Big Prescription Opiate

prescriptionOpiates are a classification of drug that comes from the poppy flower. Opiates are extremely addictive drugs that include opium, heroin, oxycodone and morphine, among others. They’re generally used as painkillers, but many addicts abuse the drugs. Opiates, formally created from poppy flowers, can be artificially created in modern times and new drugs come out in the same vein all the time. Zohydro is a new opiate drug that has come on the market in 2013 believed to be 5-10 times stronger than other current opiates. Zohydro is not being regulated like other drugs in its class and has the potential to add to the huge problem of prescription painkiller abuse and death across the country.

A Long History of Opiates and Replacement Drugs

Opiates have been around for hundreds of years. Opium can be traced back to at least the 16th century in the Middle East and in parts of Asia. The poppy flower bulb is scored with some sort of knife, a

sap or milk like substance comes out of the bulb and opium is collected from the sap. Morphine, an opiate, was made after opium and was thought to be a safer alternative to opium. Heroin was another drug created from opium that was thought to be a heroic cure for almost any ailment. When heroin was realized to be a terribly addicted drug with no health benefits, methadone was created to help addicts kick that heroin bug. Hundreds of thousands of people are now addicted to methadone (which happens to be another opiate) and are now looking for other opiate drugs to help kick the methadone addiction.

Opiates have a long history of creating drugs that are just as bad as their ancestors. Any new opiate that comes out seriously needs to be evaluated in context with the failures and dangers of past drugs.

Death by Opiates

Opiates play a huge part in pharmaceutical deaths in the U.S. The Health and Human Services department of the U.S. government has found that prescription opioid-related deaths have tripled from the year 2000 to 2010. It’s one of the leading causes of death in the country, more than car accidents and homicides, and is the biggest issue facing the fight against drug addiction. Prescription painkillers are the number one cause of death by drug overdose and on top of that, over 125,000 people die every year by prescription mistakes and side effects. This new drug is only going to add to this industry of death.

Prescription painkillers like Zohydro and a competitor called Zogenix are also being blamed for creating heroin addicts. Many prescription painkillers are so addictive and expensive that users develop a costly dependency that put the addict into financial problems. Some prescriptions cost as much as $100 a pill, which is unsustainable when addicts are taking several pills a day. Heroin gives addicts a similar high at a much lower price, but with the possibility of much more dangerous additives.

Zohydro and Zogenix Continue the Problem

The FDA approved Zohydro in 2013 and recently reaffirmed its decision to approve the drug. This is a cause for concern because Zohydro is believed to be 5-10 times more powerful than other hydrocodone drugs, but it doesn’t have abuse-deterring properties. These concerns are being raised by nearly 30 attorney generals who have written the FDA to protest the approval of Zohydro. The worry is that these two drugs will add to the current prescription painkiller abuse problems in America. While the FDA publicly states that the benefits will outweigh the dangers, they’ve curiously added language to their approval that will let them overturn the approval. That language might be the most damning evidence against these two new drugs hitting the market.

References:

MMM-Online.com – FDA standing by its Zohydro approval – http://www.mmm-online.com/fda-standing-by-its-zohydro-approval/article/346975/

MMM-Online.com – 28 attorneys general say no to Zohydro – http://www.mmm-online.com/28-attorneys-general-say-no-to-zohydro/article/325410/

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