In the midst of the worst epidemic of drug addiction and overdose in U.S. history, Fault Lines investigates why the FDA approved a powerful new opioid painkiller.
Behind the recent flurry of headlines about a massive surge in heroin use is a much more widespread wave of addiction to legal opioids—OxyContin, Vicodin and other painkillers.
One recent study found that 4 in 5 heroin users previously abused prescription opioids. In the last 15 years, at least 100,000 people have died from prescription opioid abuse.
Last fall, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a powerful, new painkiller called Zohydro, a pure form of hydrocodone that contains five to 10 times the opiate level of Vicodin. The FDA approved Zohydro even though its own advisory committee voted 11 to 2 against approval, citing the drug’s potential to exacerbate the opioid abuse epidemic.
Fault Lines examines the opioid epidemic in the U.S., and asks whether federal drug policy privileges Big Pharma’s bottom line over larger concerns of public health.
Executive Producer: Mathieu Skene,
Senior Producer: Carrie Lozano @carrielozano,
Correspondent: Sebastian Walker @sebwalker,
Producer: Samuel Black @potter_black,
Director of Photography: Joel Van Haren @joelvanharen,
Editor: Lindy Jankura @lindyjank,
Associate Producer: Abdulai Bah @africandobah,
Digital Producer: Nikhil Swaminathan @sw4mi,
Production Managers: Shannon Stanley @ShanStan, Dana Merwin @dana_merwin,
Production Assistance: Lauren Rosenfeld @lollymr, Deborah Reeb, Mark Kurlyandchik @MKurlyandchik, Lynne Shallcross @LShallcross, Sara Lafleur-Vetter @lafleurius
More from This Episode
Patient testimonials and a small body of research suggest cannabis can be used to lessen dependence on painkillers
Hundreds assembled in D.C. over the weekend to rally for a stronger federal response to opioid drug addiction.
More on Opioid Addiction
The new regulations reclassify Vicodin and similar drugs to same category as cocaine, limits prescriptions to 90 days
Fed Up Coalition: ‘Without new leadership at the FDA, the opioid crisis will continue unabated’