FDA doesn't take opioid crisis seriously
Last week, despite warnings, the Food and Drug Administration approved a new opioid painkiller drug called Dsuvia, which is 10 times more potent than fentanyl. Opioids are a class of drugs that stem from the opium poppy plant.
These drugs act in the nervous system, producing feelings of pleasure and slowing down neurons’ ability to send pain signals. There are legally prescribed opioid drugs such as codeine, fentanyl and oxycodone. But there are also illegal opioid drugs that exist, such as heroin.
These drugs are highly addictive because the amount of dopamine they release is extremely high. Currently, the United States is facing an opioid epidemic. Over the years, deaths related to this class of drugs have skyrocketed. In 2017, nearly 72,000 Americans died from opioid drug overdose.
If current levels are already doing so much damage, what happens when Dsuvia is added to the mix? The government cannot even control the epidemic, and it seems like it is just allowing the problem to get worse.
Many hold the position that the drug should not have been approved. The chair of the FDA advisory committee, four senators and the senior adviser of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group criticized the FDA, urging the organization to deny the approval of Dsuvia until the Drug Safety and Risk Management Committee is able to assess it. But the FDA still went ahead and approved it.
The FDA states that it is taking steps to prevent the drug from being abused. Restrictions such as only certification to use Dsuvia in medically supervised settings, inability to use at home, unavailability in pharmacies and single-dosed packages are all precautions that can aid the situation. However, all of these restrictions are deeply flawed.
A staff member with access to Dsuvia can steal the drug and distribute it to the masses. Some doctors could illegally prescribe this drug.
The drug could fall into the wrong hands and be mass-produced by criminals. People all over the world already have far more than enough evidence conveying controlled substance abuse in the past.
Dsuvia needs to be recalled and banned for medical use on American citizens. People having access to this drug is something that will continue expanding the opioid crisis in the United States. It is unclear how many more deaths it will take for the FDA to realize this. The government already lost most of its control of the problem. There is no reason to continue adding fuel to the fire instead of putting it out.
-Garrett D. Greene