This past week, Yahoo News published a lengthy article highlighting a powerful, new opioid that could threaten the lives of millions of Americans. The narcotic is so dangerous, in fact, that the FBI has issued an official warning about it.
The drug in question is called Dsuvia (which is described as a close chemical relative of fentanyl). Delivered in pill form, it is smaller than a Tic Tac and, reportedly, 1,000 times stronger than morphine. Obviously, circulating this product could create serious problems for people prone to painkiller addictions.
Dsuvia first entered the lexicon back in late 2018, when executives from The Food and Drug Administration and The American Society of Anesthesiologists met to review it for medical purposes. It was apparently co-developed by the U.S. military to help with people injured during combat.
But the risks appear to far outweigh the benefits according to many experts and just six months after that initial discussion, the FBI weighed in. Leads from that particular agency were on guard about Dsuvia and offered a dire confidential warning; if it were to become used illicitly.
“Because of its potency, Dsuvia likely will cause deaths at a rate surpassing that associated with fentanyl,” Yahoo News claims the statement said. “It could potentially increase the overall opioid-related death rate in the near term.”
Nevertheless, Dsuvia has found advocates within the FDA. High profile medical professionals have spoken up on its behalf as well. Their argument is that it can help supplement possible painkiller shortages happening during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“First off, it addresses a military need,” neurology nurse and health law professor Kelly Dineen told Yahoo News. “And now, particularly with the coronavirus pandemic driving shortages in some drugs, it could fill a significant niche in hospitals and prevent possible accidental overdoses using liquid opioids. All opioids are not bad. Prescription opioids can be and are an effective tool.”
Now we all know that it is true, in theory. But as many in our field have seen firsthand, powerful opioids have led to thousands of fatal overdoses across the U.S. And let us emphasize that the FBI shares that sentiment as well. Part of their warning also touched on criminal elements getting involved with Dsuvia and dangerous fatal strains getting into the hands of users.
As of right now, the case isn’t fully closed and there is still uncertainty on how wide the legal distribution of this drug may become. But regardless, it is most certainly something all recovery professionals should be aware of.