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Potent painkiller causing controversy

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A new very potent painkiller set to be released next month is causing a lot of controversy.

It is called Zohydro and some are saying it will be the new Oxycontin.

Its highest dosage will contain 5 to 10 times as much Hydrocodone, as Vicodin.

Supporters of the drug say the benefits outweigh the risks for those who suffer from chronic pain.

Dr. Jeanie Jaramillo is an assistant professor at Texas Tech's School of Pharmacy in Amarillo; she explained to us who would be the ideal candidate for the drug. "It would be an option for someone with chronic pain who have tried many drugs overtime and has run out of options. So someone with cancer, or bone pain, or chronic back pain."

Several consumer groups are asking the FDA to revoke its approval of Zohydro, they say it is extremely easy to overdose from the drug.

"If we have a child who gets into these and takes just one single capsule it can kill them. It could cause them to stop breathing and they could die from that and that makes it extremely dangerous. Even adults if they have not been taking it regularly and have not yet developed a tolerance, if they take two of these it is enough for an overdose in an adult."

A chemical dependency counselor, Melissa Preece, says it is important for everyone to be knowledgeable before considering taking or prescribing this drug. "I think everyone should be educated. You know and I feel that it is the responsibility of the doctors and the pharmacists, and they normally do a great job of educating and then it will come down to the parent and the adults taking the medication. It is going to require everyone to be knowledgeable about what they are taking."

A coalition of more than 40 health care, consumer and addiction treatment groups is urging the FDA to revoke approval of the drug, before it is released next month.

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