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Zohydro Facing Growing Chorus Of Critics

A powerful new painkiller that hit the shelves last week is drawing fire across the country, but criticism is particularly vocal in Kentucky.

Few new drugs in recent memory have been greeted with the level of opposition generated by Zohdyro, a hydrocodone-based painkiller five times stronger than Vicodin.

Kentucky lawmakers, including 5th District Congressman Rep. Hal Rogers, are worrying aloud that the drug could spark another prescription drug abuse epidemic like the one seen in the 1990s with OxyContin. Unlike the current formulation of that drug, Zohydro is crushable - meaning users can snort or inject it and receive the full effects much faster.

Rogers is cosponsoring a bill that would yank Zohydro from the market.

Defenders argue, however, the drug’s positives outweigh the negatives. Zogenix, the San Diego company that produces the drug, says the product will cut down on liver damage in patients with chronic pain due to its lack of acetaminophen.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.