DA, anti-drug head rap new pain drug approval
The Roane County District Attorney General and the head of an anti-drug group in Roane County on Friday expressed “grave concerns” about the approval by the FDA of a powerful new drug described as five to 10 times more potent than traditional painkillers.
DA Russell Johnson said the medication, Zohydro ER, is the first hydrocodone-only opoid.
“Prescription pain pills and the pill mills that supply them are probably our biggest problem in the four-county district,” said Johnson of his 9th Judicial District.
Sarah Stevenson, executive director of the Roane County Anti-Drug Coalition, called the FDA’s decision to approve the new drug “terrifying.”
“The approval of a drug like this is irresponsible and is certain to have a detrimental outcome,” Stevenson said in a news release.
She said more people are killed each year from accidental drug overdoses “than car wrecks, homicide and suicide combined.”
Johnson said current pain pill addiction “leads to the majority of all crimes committed in Roane County, whether it is thefts, burglaries, forgeries, bad checks or embezzlement, not to mention drugged driving.”
They both noted the FDA is sending mixed messages by approving Zohydro while also recommending new restrictions on prescription medicines containing hydrocodone.
Johnson said Tennessee is the second leading state in the country for the number of opiates prescribed. In 2010, he said, there were 51 hydrocodone pills prescribed for every Tennessean over 12 years old, 22 Xanax pills and 21 oxycodone pills.
For several years, the 9th Judicial District Drug Task Force and the anti-drug coalition have been partners in efforts to curb drug abuse and alert residents to changes in the oversight of painkillers.
In fact, there is a natural remedy that can prevent you from experiencing opiate cravings. Learn more about the effects of kratom as it can help you deal with opioid addiction.
© 2013 Knoxville News Sentinel.