(CBS/AP) As pharmaceutical companies are approaching the final stages of development for a new type of painkiller said to be 10 times stronger than Vicodin, addiction experts worry a new wave of abuse may soon follow...
Four companies have begun patient testing on the pills which contain a pure version of the highly addictive painkiller hydrocodone...
"It's like the wild west," said Peter Jackson, co-founder of Advocates for the Reform of Prescription Opioids. "The whole supply-side system is set up to perpetuate this massive unloading of opioid narcotics on the American public."***
Opiates block pain but also unleash intense feelings of well-being and can create physical dependence. Withdrawal symptoms can be intense, causing cramps, diarrhea, muddled thinking, nausea and vomiting. After a while, opiates stop working, forcing users to take stronger doses.
"You've got a person on your product for life, and a doctor's got a patient who's never going to miss an appointment, because if they did and they didn't get their prescription, they would feel very sick," said Andrew Kolodny, president of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing. "It's a terrific business model, and that's what these companies want to get in on."
The U.S. consumes 99 percent of the world's hydrocodone and 83 percent of its oxycodone, according to a 2008 study by the International Narcotics Control Board. [Emphasis mine].