Doctors, mental health care providers, addiction recovery specialists, and pharmacists alike are all quite concerned about a newly approved drug called Zohydro, which many experts believe may quickly be acknowledged as one of the most dangerous and addictive prescription drugs available on the market. As prescription drug addiction and use continues to be one of the fastest growing epidemics in the medical field, many experts wonder why the drug was ever approved at all and what steps will be taken to ensure that it will be used as cautiously and with as many safeguards as possible.

What is Zohydro?

Zohydro is a prescription painkiller that is opiate based. It is hydrocodone, which is the drug that is also used to make the commonly prescribed drug Viccodin. What separates Zohydro from prescription pain killers currently on the market is the fact that it contains a much higher dose of hydrocodone and that it is manufactured in an extended release formula. These two features make the pill much more dangerous because it may be even easier for users to become addicted to the drug. Other forms of hydrocodone, which have long been on the market have already been identified as drugs which a patient may very rapidly develop a dependency and a tolerance for.

The Rapidly Growing Problem of Prescription Drug Addiction

The decision to approve Zohydro surprised many drug and alcohol addiction specialists for many reasons, not least of which are the long list of dangers associated with Zohydro specifically. Prescription drug use and addiction has rapidly become one of the most common causes of death in the United States, and overdoses related to prescription drug use out number overdoses of almost any other drug.

In light of this serious and growing problem, law enforcement and health officials have clamored for increased regulations designed to help stem the tide of deaths associated with the drugs. Some legislation that has been approved includes measures that increase training for doctors and pharmacists who may prescribe or dispense dangerous drugs like opiates.

Doctors are encouraged to look for signs of chemical dependency in their patients, and many communities have set up safe disposal programs so that individuals with excess opiates that have been prescribed to them may safely get rid of extra pills without worrying about them falling into the hands of a person who may abuse the drugs.

Prescription drug addiction may be one of the fastest growing diseases in America because, unlike many other dangerous drugs, a person may become exposed to them in some way other than recreationally. In fact, many people who are addicted to opiates are originally exposed to them because of a legitimate medical need.

The Fight to Stop Zohydro From being Approved

Zohydro’s entry into the market place comes after many health officials and members of law enforcement and recovery communities strongly encouraged the FDA to block the approval of the drug. The new form of the drug contains as much as ten times the amount of hydrocodone as a drug like Viccodin. This may mean that individuals who are currently dependent on opiates may be at an even higher risk for fatal overdose. Many activists continue to be against the use of the drug and are pushing for further investigation into the drug that may only serve to worsen what is considered by many a rampant drug addiction epidemic. To date, however, the drug is on the market, and has been approved for use of severe pain management. The makers of the drug argue that it is an effective way of managing pain that lasts all day and night.