We all know that the opioid addiction in this country has become an epidemic. The number of opioid prescriptions has quadrupled since 1999 and is responsible for 14,000 deaths per year in the United States with up to 1,000 people per day being seen in our emergency rooms. The problem is so bad that the Federal government has stepped in, much as they love to do, and made it ridiculously difficult for the law-abiding, legitimate, patients to get their prescriptions filled. The DEA is going so far as to count down to the minute that the pharmacy is allowed to provide a refill to the patient.

Well, the epidemic may becoming to an end in the near future. Dr. Aashish Manglik from the Stanford School of Medicine and Henry Lin of UC San Francisco have discovered a new chemical compound the named PZM21, which is said to offer almost as much pain relief as morphine without the addictive side effects.

When tested on mice that were placed on a hot surface PZM21 offered as much pain relief as morphine and lasted up to three hours. That is longer than morphine or any other experimental drug that has been developed to this point. The mice also reportedly did not display the addictive behavior that is associated with opioids as the mice were just as likely to go to another chamber to receive saline, as they were to return to the chamber containing PZM21. The one side effect that does linger is respiratory depression, but the mice’s respiratory effort did improve while maintaining the pain relief, which is in contrast to morphine that maintains the respiratory depression even after the pain relief begins to wear off.

Kaplan, K. (2016, August 17). Scientists create opioid-like painkiller without addictive side effects. Retrieved from http://www.ems1.com/drugs/articles/117578048-Scientists-create-opioid-like-painkiller-without-addictive-side-effects/.

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Richard has been in EMS since 1993 obtaining his EMT from Johnson County Community College. He lived in Arizona and worked in private EMS and for a fire department in Southern Arizona for 10 years.