A new opiate painkiller that is being released in March of this year is said to be anywhere from 5 to 10 times the strength of the well-known painkiller, Vicodin. The potency of the new painkiller, Zohydro, has many lawmakers, doctors and even those who work with addictions questioning its release. Professionals in a wide range of industries are alarmed at Zohydro’s potential to cause a spike in deaths and overdoses, which are already on the rise from abusing opiate painkillers.
According to experts, Zohydro is such a strong opiate it has the ability to trigger an overdose in an individual with just two pills. Because an adult may overdose from just two pills, animals and children are likely to overdose by ingesting just one. The effects or the “high” caused by Zohydro can last for a whopping 12 hours with each dose.
With opioid painkiller deaths, it is no surprise of the outrage and shock against releasing Zohydro publicly. From just 1999 to 2010, deaths that included the use of an opioid analgesic grew from 4,030 to more than 17,000, which is more than deaths caused by cocaine and heroin together. The Center for Disease Control data reveals that painkillers and prescription medication-related deaths and overdoses have tripled in just two decades alone.
Although the United States only holds 5 percent of the entire globe’s population, it is responsible for more than 84 percent of all Oxycontin prescriptions. Additionally, the US is also responsible for 99 percent of all Lortab and Vicodin painkiller prescriptions, making it a leading country in painkiller-related deaths and overdoses. Today, more than 5 million Americans are dependent on painkillers daily.
Though Zohydro does not contain acetaminophen, it does not decrease its strength or capabilities in terms of intense and potentially harmful or deadly side effects. Currently, Zohydro is still set to be released in early March.