New powerful painkiller has abuse experts worried

By: AP
By: AP

NEW YORK (AP) - Drug companies are working to develop a pure,
more powerful version of the nation's second most-abused medicine.
That has addiction experts worried that it could spur a new wave of
abuse.

The new pills contain the addictive painkiller hydrocodone. They
pack up to 10 times the amount of the drug as medications such as
Vicodin.

If approved, it would mark the first time patients could legally
buy pure hydrocodone. Existing products combine the drug with
nonaddictive painkillers such as acetaminophen.

Critics say abusers might crush the pills to get high. That's
exactly what people do with oxycodone, which is the most-abused
medicine in the U.S.

The pharmaceutical firms say the new drugs give doctors another
tool to help patients manage pain. The companies also say patients
will be more closely supervised.


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