The Food and Drug Administration gave their approval for a new opioid despite widespread criticism and challenges to their vetting process. This opioid is ten times more potent than fentanyl and a thousand times stronger than morphine.
The drug is called sufentanyl, brand name Dsuvia. It’s designed to be taken sublingually, dissolved under the tongue as a fast-acting uber-painkiller, in the battlefield or in any case of excruciatingly intense acute pain.
The problem is, it’s a small tablet that would easily slip into a health care worker’s pocket to be sold illicitly, as many opioids already are. But this one would act so swiftly and so powerfully the poor unsuspecting users wouldn’t know what hit them – and then they’d probably be dead.
Hey, a drug so lethal one dose can be fatal, available in an instant-use form, what could go wrong?
Those who read this blog know I am not against all pharmaceuticals all the time, I like to weigh each circumstance on its own merits.
Looking at the track record of keeping drugs like Dsuvia under control is dismal, and this time, there are no second chances – this mega-poison out on the streets is a formula for mass unintentional suicide.
There may well be right applications for such super-drugs – but before we jeopardize the public welfare, we’d need to be a lot more certain about safeguards that prevent unnecessary harm.
The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) reported 42,000 deaths from opioids in 2016, pushing fifty thousand in 2017, a hundred and thirty-five people a day. Dying from prescription opioids or heroin has become so common, it lowered life expectancy in the US two years in a row for the first time since 1962-3. It wasn’t from older people dying sooner, it was from younger people overdosing. Synthetic opioids killed 27,000 people in 2017, over five hundred fatalities every week.
The point is, Big Pharma’s history suggests that they will be unable (or unwilling) to contain the flow of sufentanyl into our communities, and that means we need to raise our consciousness and be vigilant to keep our friends, neighbors, patients and children safe. There is no room for error with this drug – let’s hope they change their mind and decide not to release it, or if they do, to somehow dramatically improve security.
This is just more proof that the philosophy of better living through better chemistry falls short in health care – let’s continue to work toward a time where innate reasoning supplants the ego-and-profit driven system we currently endure.
Sadly, it’s a matter of time before doctors start to find reasons to integrate Dsuvia into their toolbox, and there won’t be anyone there to tell them no – there are many alternative ways to give those in severe pain relief. Those experiencing this level of pain are looking for fast relief from the misery in which they live. Please know that another option exists that doesn’t have such devastating downside risk.
That’s why we need to spread the word as a community – people are suffering, my goal is to keep them from slipping down the slope of drug dependence. May we continue to build healthier communities.
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Yours for Better Health, Dr. Shapero
EXPECT MIRACLES – WE DO