FDA approves powerful new opioid in ‘terrible’ decision

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The Food and Drug Administration approved a powerful new opioid Friday, despite strong criticism and accusations that it bypassed its own advisory process to do it.

The new drug, Dsuvia, is a tablet that goes under the tongue. It is designed for use in the battlefield and in other emergency situations to treat intense, acute pain.

Known generically as sufentanil, it’s a new formulation of a drug currently given intravenously. Critics say it will be incredibly easy for health workers to pocket and divert the drug to the illicit drug market and because it is so small and concentrated, it will likely kill people who overdose on it.

“This is a dangerous, reckless move,” said Dr. Sidney Wolfe senior adviser of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group. He questions whether there’s need for yet another synthetic opioid when the U.S. is in the throes of an opioid overdose crisis.