Powerful new painkiller causes concern - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Powerful new painkiller causes concern

ADDU Chief Bill Berry ADDU Chief Bill Berry

South Georgia drug agents are joining Georgia's Attorney General in voicing concerns Zohydro ER, which just hit the market.  It's designed for terminal cancer patients and others with severe pain.  But law enforcers worry it will make the prescription drug abuse epidemic even worse.  

 Albany Dougherty Drug Unit Commander Major Bill Berry has been studying the new painkiller, and is concerned. "This makes anything on the street now look like candy. It's that strong."

Zohydro ER is a pure hydrocodone pill, five to ten times more potent than Vicodin or Lortab.  And law enforcers say because it is pure, with no abuse deterrents, addicts can more easily snort or inject it.

"Going to be very dangerous to anybody who is not used to something this strength.  And it overdoses them.  They could die or have some serious reactions to it," Berry said.

Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens last week joined five other state attorneys general calling on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to overturn the recent approval of Zohydro ER. 

Drug agents say when Oxycontin and hydrocodone were released, they were supposed to be guarded, but now they are epidemic on the streets. And they worry Zohydro ER will be the same.

Berry said "Especially once people hear about it, and really the potential of it, they are going to crave to get it.  Go to the extremes to get it."

The GBI says in 2012 at least 592 Georgians died with prescription drug abuse playing a role.  The State Attorney General and drug agents agree this powerful new painkiller could balloon those numbers.  

You can read the Georgia Attorney General's letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, asking her to overturn the release of Zohydro ER HERE:





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