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Addiction and Mental Health Expert Ben Brafman Weighs in on FDA Painkiller Approval

Fort Lauderdale, Fl (PRWEB) November 01, 2013

Addiction and mental health expert Ben Brafman expresses concern about the FDA’s approval of Zohydro, a strong painkiller intended to treat people with chronic pain. Zohydro is an extended release hydrocodone medication, a painkiller that has proved to be highly addictive and abused in the United States.

“What a terrible message this is sending to the general public about the war on drugs,” said Brafman, a 20-year veteran of the behavioral health industry. “Addiction is consistently handled as the red-headed stepchild of issues and policies. This is clearly financially motivated as we already have milder drugs to assist people with real chronic pain.”

What further concerns an addiction and mental health expert like Brafman is the poor timing by the FDA and lack of abuse-deterrent technology linked to the drug. One day prior to approving Zohydro, the FDA stated that it would be in favor of stronger restrictions for certain combination drugs that contain hydrocodone. As it stands, Zohydro, unlike other painkillers on the market like Oxycodone, does not carry any additional controls to make it more difficult for users to crush or inject the pills. Zohydro is considered to be a purer form of hydrocodone

“The fact that this drug was approved in the face of a December 2012 11-2 vote against the drug from the FDA’s outside advisory board is shocking,” said Brafman, an addiction and mental health expert for more than 20 years. “The decision itself is a slap in the face for those of us on the front lines of prescription drug abuse.”

Although other drugs containing hydrocodone are classified as Schedule III drugs, meaning, they can be refilled up to five times and prescribed by both doctors and other medical professionals, Zohydro is being classified as a Schedule II drug, meaning no refills and that it can only be prescribed by a physician. The FDA has recommended to the Department of Health and Human Services that other drugs containing hydrocodone, including Vicotin be reclassified as Schedule II drugs.

Prescription drug addiction is a severe problem in the United States, with 2,500 youth between 12 and 17 trying a prescription painkiller for the first time every day. An addiction and mental health expert knows that prescription drug overdoses are responsible for more deaths than any other type of drug overdose, and statistics show that opioids like Zohydro and hydrocodone account for 38.2% of these deaths (

“The possible fallout of this will be the same as always – we will end up with more people dead that should be alive,” said Brafman, founder and CEO of Destination Hope, an addiction and mental health treatment center in south Florida. “The fact is that policy makers don’t really feel that addiction is a true disease. The drug addicted and mentally ill are invisible to the people making the laws.”


About Ben Brafman

Behavioral health expert Ben Brafman, MS, LMHC, CAP, is President and CEO of Destination Hope, a nationally recognized substance abuse and dual diagnosis treatment center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and The Sylvia Brafman Mental Health Center. With more than two decades of hands-on experience in the field of behavioral health, Mr. Brafman is a leading authority on substance abuse, addiction, mental health and treatment protocols. In 2006, Mr. Brafman founded the Academy for Addiction Professionals, an accredited academic certification program for those wishing to work in the field of substance abuse and addiction. For more information about Ben Brafman, please visit

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