One of the most potent painkillers ever created is slated to release on U.S. markets this week. Doctors and experts have already voiced their opinions that the drug will only lead to the tragic deaths of opioid abusers in the United States.

“The FDA has a responsibility to consumers and patients to thoroughly review the information that is available to them,” commented Megan McBride, an attorney with the Levin, Papantonio law firm who practices in the areas of Product Liability, Personal Injury, and Bad Drug Litigation. “Consumers rely on the FDA’s review of the safety data because the FDA may require a company to inform consumers of the potential risks associated with drugs. This process is extremely important, especially with this drug, considering the expressed concern about the danger it poses.”

The drug is 5 to 10 times more powerful than Vicodin and can prove fatal with as few as two pills. It’s also easy to crush, which makes it a prime candidate for abuse. It could potentially kill a child with only one pill.

A coalition of physicians and attorneys has come together to oppose the release of the drug in the U.S.. Despite the FDA’s scientific advisory panel voting 11-2 against the approval of Zohydro, the agency approved the drug anyway. The group, FED Up!, went on to state that, even if the FDA was adhering to its policies, the policies are clearly in need of review.

Zohydro is a member of the drug class known as opioids. In the past decade, the prescription rate for opioids has been increasing at an alarming rate along with a correlating increase in addiction and opioid addiction related deaths.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), opioid analgesic deaths have increased 415% in women and 265% in men. The U.S. also has a horrid track record when it comes to controlling opioid abuse. Despite only having 5% of the world’s population, the U.S. is responsible for 85% of oxycodone (Oxycontin) and 99% of hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lortab) consumption.

Those numbers are from before Zohydro came to market.

According to experts, we don’t even need the drug, existing painkillers are sufficient. But we’re so addicted in the U.S. that we just can’t stop.

Additional reading:

Letter from FED Up! to the FDA

FDA Evaluation of Zohydro

Joshua is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire. You can follow him on Twitter @Joshual33.