Recent editorials from Kentucky newspapers:
Messenger-Inquirer, Owensboro, on approval of Zohydro ER:
U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, Kentucky’s 5th District representative in Washington, has long been a friend to those working to combat substance abuse, both in the commonwealth and across the nation.
His latest target is a new drug called Zohydro ER, which recently received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The drug is marketed as a powerful painkiller that will help people suffering from chronic pain, but does not pose the risk of liver damage because it doesn’t contain acetaminophen.
It does, however, contain a pure form of hydrocodone, and that is where Rogers sees a problem. He’s concerned that the FDA did not require any measures to prevent abusers from crushing the pill up and ingesting it for a quicker, longer-lasting high. Rogers said he doesn’t want to see a repeat of what happened in the 1990s when OxyContin hit the market.
“In southern and eastern Kentucky, we lost nearly an entire generation when crushable OxyContin was first prescribed, and I fear this crushable, pure hydrocodone pill will take us backward with a new wave of addiction and tragic, untimely deaths,” Rogers said.
He isn’t alone in his concern. Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway told the Lexington Herald-Leader that the FDA’s decision is a “step backward” and “wrong-headed.” He’s joining state prosecutors in 27 other states in expressing concerns over the new drug.
Clearly there’s enough concern that the FDA should reconsider and look for alternatives that reduce the high when the pill is crushed, similar to what has been done with later versions of OxyContin. We support Rogers, Conway and others in making this happen.
The Daily Independent, Ashland, work of Appalachian initiative:
Officials announced the leaders of an initiative to expand and diversify the economy in eastern Kentucky on Monday.