Public officials worry about latest prescription pain killer

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

A new prescription pain pill that just hit the market has public officials doing everything they can to ban the drug.

It is called Zohydro ER and is reportedly up to ten times stronger than other painkillers.  Even Arizona Attorney General has signed a letter asking the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to take back its approval of the drug.  Two states on the east coast have made it difficult to obtain the new drug.  The Governor of Vermont announced an emergency order to make it harder for doctors to prescribe it, while  Massachusetts has issued an outright ban on prescriptions.

The fear is that people will abuse Zohydro ER because it is so much stronger than others, and because it comes in a capsule, so the powder in it could possibly be taken out and snorted or injected. It is an opiate like heroin and oxycodone; and public health officials say it could spark a whole new wave of addiction. 

The drug maker issued a statement on its website saying Zohydro ER is no more potent than other drugs of its kind.  They also say "Like our nation's leaders, we are committed to the safe and appropriate use of prescription medication." 

So far the head of the FDA has said the pill fills an 'important and unique niche' for treating chronic pain.

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