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FDA Panel Oks Stronger Opioid Despite Concerns

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola

The U.S. is in the center of an opioid addiction epidemic that’s killing thousands every year, but even so, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) panel just gave the go-ahead to a new opioid that is five times stronger than the deadly drug, fentanyl. According to WebMD, the new drug, sufentanil, which will be marketed under the brand name Dsuvia, needed the FDA panel’s nod to get to its final approval. The vote was 10-3, and at least one doubtful panel member said he’s worried about allowing something so potentially lethal on the market.

"The FDA's inability to enforce controls, the potency of the drug and the ease with which it will be diverted are some of the reasons why I would never consider this product for marketing in the U.S.," said Dr. Raeford E. Brown, who was unable to attend the committee’s meeting.

While there are instances, such as cancer patients in excruciating pain, where opioids can play a positive role in pain treatment, this constant search for a new, stronger, chemical concoction for chronic pain sufferers must stop. Not to mention the fentanyl crisis, which is another issue all on its own, opioid overdoses are now the leading causes of death among Americans under age 50.

Yet, despite widespread discussions about the dangers of opioids and updated treatment guides the leading reason for taking these drugs — back pain — doctors are still overprescribing these drugs. And, as shown by the FDA panel’s latest move, government bodies are still resorting to deadly treatments when something very simple and nonlethal is available.

That “something” is medical marijuana. Time and again, study after study, we’ve found that medical cannabis and cannabidiol (CBD) are especially effective for treating pain, yet medical marijuana remains on the Schedule I controlled substance list. And this is a travesty, as the medical version marijuana does not contain the psychoactive components that get you “high” and therefore has little potential for abuse — and virtually no potential for death in the event of an overdose.

When you consider that solid scientific studies show that cannabis also can treat seizure disorders and epilepsy, rheumatoid arthritis, mental disorders, autism, cancer, Crohn’s disease, Alzehimer’s, high blood pressure and more — not to mention being used as a treatment for drug dependency and withdrawal — it’s simply unconscionable that the FDA would go ahead and approve one more dangerous drug that they know is going to eventually kill its users.

That’s right. Unconscionable. The bottom line is this latest move by the FDA only shows that what’s best for you isn’t the side FDA is on. Rather, all they appear to care about is Big Pharma’s bottom line. At least one member of the panel is aware enough to admit that, although it’s a shame that Brown couldn’t be there in person to get his opinion officially into the record.

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