A quartet of contemporary pharmaceutical firms have recently release painkillers that contain a purified form of hydrocodene, a highly-addictive narcotic. Among them is Zogenix of San Diego. The firm intends to commence efforts to patent Zohydro, its latest invention within this product category – early next year.
If Zohydro gains regulatory approval, it will be the first product to provide patients with legal access to pure hydrocodone. All other prescription painkillers contain a combination of addiction opiates and non-addictive substances like acetaminophen.
Zohydro opponents are purportedly concerned about the widespread availability of even a time-release medication intended to manage patients with severe to moderate chronic pain levels. The stated cause of such vehement opposition lies in the risk of creating a potential cycle of abuse and addiction when addicts grind pills into powder and snort or inject them for an immediate, intense “rush.” National Coalition Against Prescription Drug Abuse President April Rovero recently expressed a “big concern that [Zohydro] could be the [nation’s] next OxyContin.”
Introduced by Purdue Pharma in 1995, OxyContin was intended to manage severe pain by providing a single dose that dribbled into patients’ veins over several hours. Drug abusers soon learned, however, that they could easily circumvent this safeguard by simply crushing pills. Despite OxyContin manufacturer’s laudable efforts to make their product less prone to addiction abuse, drug addicts soon sought out generic oxycodone versions that did not include this time-release precaution.
In addition to blocking the brain’s receptors that detect extreme pain, addiction opiates foster chemical dependency by inducing intense systemic sensations of well-being. Addiction opiates withdrawal include extreme symptoms such as unfocused thinking, severe cramping, vomiting, and nausea. Continued abuse addiction eventually leads to enhanced tolerance that compels users to ingest increasingly stronger doses to obtain the identical effects initially experienced.
The bottom line is that novel narcotics and addiction opiates like Zohydro easily lead to increased incidence of violent crimes and wasted fiscal resources by treatment facilities. Moreover, many patients with legitimate painkiller prescriptions are being led down the path to abuse and addiction each year.