New prescription painkiller released - 7News Boston WHDH-TV

New prescription painkiller released

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UNDATED (NBC) - A new prescription painkiller could help many people suffering from long-term, severe pain. But it has addiction specialists worried saying there's a huge potential for abuse.

Suzette Laufer is in the final stages of a treatment program to overcome an addiction to the prescription painkiller, Percocet.

She first realized she had a problem more than 30 years ago.

"When I started going to the doctor every month just because I wanted to feel good from the Percocet. I just wanted, you know, that high,” said Suzette Laufer, Phoenix House Patient

Now a new prescription painkiller called Zohydro extended release is on the market.

Any pain medications have the potential for abuse... But critics warn Zohydro is extremely potent.

"It has five to 10 times more hydrocodone in a pure form that can be easily crushed, snorted or chewed,” said Dr. Andrew Kolodny, Phoenix House Chief Medical Officer.

The Food and Drug Administration approved Zohydro last fall in opposition to its advisors.

In a statement, drug maker Zogenix wrote: "The FDA concluded that the benefits of Zohydro ER outweigh the risks."

Some doctors say they welcome this new drug as a valuable tool for certain patients with chronic, debilitating pain that limits their quality of life.

"These patients includes those folks that have been in catastrophic car accidents and now have maybe an amputation or burn injuries that will never heal,” said Dr. Brian Bruel, MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Still, recovering addicts like Suzette Laufer worry about the potential for painkiller abuse.

"It destroyed my personal life,” Laufer said.

The drugmaker is working on a form of the pill that will not as easily crushed, but that could take years.

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