Painkillers: Should Vicodin and Percocet Be Banned?

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Pain medication is one of the marvels of the modern age. But as Americans buy billions of doses of acetaminophen each year, the risk of misuse increases. More than 400 people die and 42,000 are hospitalized every year in the United States from overdoses of the drug. Yesterday a federal advisory panel recommended banning some popular prescription drugs – including Vicodin and Percocet – because of safety concerns. For more we turn to New York Times science writer Donald McNeil.


Donald G. McNeil, Jr.

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Todd Zwillich

Comments [2]


I agree, I have gone through tons of hoops just go get vicodine for my back since a car wreck a few weeks ago. They arnt even strong enough to take the pain fully away. The doctor still managed to make me feel like I was a pill seeker/drug addict

Aug. 13 2009 07:27 AM
Noah Kornblum, MD

I was pretty disappointed in Donald McNeil's interview this morning. As a busy oncologist working in NYC I am one of many practioners continually called upon to treat severe pain assocaited with advanced cancer. Mr. McNeil's description of Percocet and Vicodin as being like "a little bit of heroin and a little bit of tylenol" is an incredbly misguided description. Heroin is an illegal narcotic assocaited with major social problems and stigmas including violence, and the spread of infectious diseases such as hiv. Narcotic analgesics are natural or synthetic derivitives of the ancient medication opium, used to relieve pain and suffering for thousands of years. It is difficult enough for patients to navigate the medico-legal hurdles in obtaining access to these critically important medications as it is. Likening them to heroin is totatlly inappropriate and potentially hurtful. Outright ban on these medicines will surely lead to increased pain and suffering for thousands of people.

Jul. 01 2009 10:11 AM

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