Drug addicts are excited about a powerful and controversial new painkiller that just came on the market.
Zohydro is being marketed to chronic pain patients and contains a high dose of pure hydrocodone, the painkiller drug that’s in Vicodin. It’s meant to be released slowly over a 12-hour period after the pill is taken, but addicts looking to abuse the drug can crush the pills for a quick and intense high.
Some drug users who post on the internet forum Opiophile are already strategising about the best ways to get high off the drug, which the Food and Drug Administration approved last year against the recommendation of an advisory committee.
Zohydro hit the market this year, but it doesn’t yet come in a tamper-resistant formula that would make it harder to abuse.
Posts on Opiophile after the FDA approved Zohydro indicated excitement about the abuse potential:
There are different ways to abuse pills, and some addicts use the Opiophile forums to pool their knowledge about how to get the best high:
Some make reference to the fact that the pills aren’t tamper-proof:
The drug hasn’t been on the market for very long, but it sounds like people have already started abusing it:
Some states, including Massachusetts, have tried banning Zohydro because of its potential to fuel an already growing epidemic of painkiller abuse and addiction.
Posts on the Opiophile thread lamented the possibility of politicians making it more difficult for these drugs to become easily available on the streets:
Another theme seen throughout the thread is the benefits of having a painkiller that’s pure hydrocodone. Other painkillers, such as Vicodin, are cut with the less powerful pain reliever acetaminophen, which can cause liver damage with overuse.
This helps people with chronic pain who take painkillers as they’re prescribed by a doctor, but it might also encourage abusers who restrict their doses out of fear of dying from ingesting too much acetaminophen.
Because of the high likelihood that Zohydro will be abused, one poster on an Opiophile thread speculated in 2012: “This s–t will never be on the market.”
Zogenix, the drugmaker that produces Zohydro, is now working on a tamper-resistant formulation that would help prevent abuse of the drug. But for now, the pills are on the market without an abuse deterrent formula, and addicts seem eager to get their hands on them.
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