Controversy Fills Before Release Of New Painkiller - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Controversy Fills Before Release Of New Painkiller

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SALISBURY, Md. - A brand-new painkiller is set to be released in the next few weeks.

But before pharmacies can even stock up, it's already causing some controversy with some calling it deadly.

Addiction therapist Robert Hooper thinks the release of Zohydro could be dangerous.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were more than 16,000 prescription opioid deaths in 2010. Hooper says those numbers could increase with the release of the new drug, even comparing its risk level to oxycodone.

"If the pills are taken and crushed and they are taken by snorting or chewing or injection, it can lead to immediate cardiac arrest," said Hooper.

It has caught the eyes of leaders nationwide. In December, 29 state attorneys general, including Delaware attorney general Beau Biden, sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration, urging the agency to reconsider their approval.

"Zohydro ER has the potential to exacerbate our nation's prescription drug abuse epidemic," the letter reads. "[Zohydro] is reportedly five to ten times more potent than traditional hydrocodone products. And it has no abuse deterrent properties."

"Anytime you have a narcotic, it's addictive," said pharmacist Jeff Farace. "If the doctors prescribe it properly, I don't see any big issue with the Zohydro."

Farace says he would rather leaders make a known "abused drug" illegal, rather than go after the hydrocodone.

"I think the bigger controversy is the oxycodone 15 and 30 milligram," said Farace.

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