The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers prescription painkiller overdoses a public health epidemic, calling prescription drug abuse the "fastest growing drug problem in the United States." Opioid painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin are the leading cause of fatal drug overdoses, which have risen dramatically over the past few decades.
And now the FDA has approved an even more addictive pill. Medical experts warned the agency that Zohydro, an opiod painkiller that contains an unusually high dose of hydrocodone, up to 10 times more than Vicodin. This is the first hydrocodone drug the FDA has approved that isn't diluted with another painkiller like acetaminophen, which can make opioid medications less addictive but also can cause liver damage. Oxycontin, which similarly contains the undiluted opioid oxycodone, has high rates of abuse and overdose.