Sen. Schumer, anti-drug advocates call on FDA to revoke 'super-drug' painkiller ZoHydro

Zohydro ER is a painkiller experts say is 10 times stronger than Vicodin.

Zohydro ER is a painkiller experts say is 10 times stronger than Vicodin. (3/3/14)

WOODBURY - Anti-drug advocates and local lawmakers are calling on the FDA to revoke its approval of a potent new painkiller that's 10 times more powerful than Vicodin.

Experts say there are concerns that ZoHydro, the so-called "super-drug" that came on the market this week, could cause the prescription drug epidemic to spiral.

"The FDA approved a prescription for disaster," says Jeffrey Reynolds, executive director of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency. "It means more overdoses. It means more crime."

The potent new pill isn't tamper-proof, so experts say it can be easily crushed and then snorted or injected. It is so potent that experts say people who are new to opioid drugs could die of an overdose by taking two ZoHydro pills. A child could die after ingesting one.

Zogenix, the manufacturer, says it "has started the development of an abuse deterrent formulation of ZoHydro," and adds that it is "committed to advancing the program as rapidly as possible."

But Sen. Charles Schumer says that's unacceptable. He's calling on Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to overturn the FDA's approval of the drug.

"The FDA is sometimes pretty tough," Schumer said. "But on this issue of opioids, they've been not home. The decision is both illogical and dangerous, and no one can quite figure it out."

Schumer is asking that ZoHydro be made with the same tamper-proof protections that Vicodin and Oxycontin have, which turn to gel when crushed so they cannot be snorted or injected.

For the press conference on 'super-drug' Zohydro, watch the clip to the left or click News 12 Extra on Optimum TV channel 612.

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