Transcript by http://www.newsy.com
BY EMILY SPAIN
You're watching multisource health news from Newsy.
Drug companies are concocting a painkiller 10 times stronger than Vicodin and plan to have it hit the market in 2013. But the potential pill has some experts worried.. fearing it's an amplified avenue for addicts.
Here's KMSB with a breakdown of the drug:
"Right now, you can't get pure hydrocodone legally. It's in painkillers like vicodin.. Mixed with acetaminophen, which is the stuff in Tylenol... Basically, it mellows out the hydrocodone so you don't get hooked. But now.. Several drug companies are working to develop a pure form of hydrocodone, for use in treating moderate to severe pain."
There are four companies that have separately started testing pills on patients, and according to ABC News Radio this is the first time ever for a drug to contain the addictive ingredient hydrocodone in a pure, and more dangerous form.
"Hydrocodone is the second most abused prescription painkiller next to Oxycontin, although the purer hydrocodone could quickly supplant the current king of opoids... Although the time-released drug is not intended to deliver all its painkilling relief at once, critics say that addicts will get around it by crushing pills..."
The DEA reports more than 86 thousand emergency visits because of hydrocodone abuse in 2009.
And according to the Daily Mail... in the state of Florida alone from 2003 to 07, the drug caused nearly 1000 deaths and contributed to almost 2000 others.
So why are drug companies pushing for production of this intense new drug? They claim the public needs it.
Still -- even if the need for better painkillers is up, the Dayton Business Journal points out -- so is the number of people abusing them.
"As the economy plummeted in recent years, the number of professionals getting addicted to prescription medications has soared. And people getting hooked on pills is becoming such a problem that politicians and government officials are taking notice and trying to do something about it."
The Associated Press reports the company Zogenix has finished three rounds of patient testing so far. It announced last week that it held a final meeting with the Food and Drug Administration to talk about its drug application.