Senator Says a Proposed Painkiller Would Worsen Drug Crisis

A new “super drug” under federal review would only intensify the painkiller-abuse crisis, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said Sunday.

Schumer urged the Food and Drug Administration “to proceed with great caution” before approving the sale of a pure hydrocodone pill _ 10 times stronger than Vicodin. A pharmaceutical company has said it will soon apply to the FDA for approval of such a drug.

“It would instantly become the most sought-after drug by addicts and criminals,” Schumer said at a news conference in Manhattan. “It would make the crisis go from bad to worse.”

In releasing his letter to the FDA, the senator cited an increase in drug-related crimes in the New York area, including last June’s killing of four people at a Medford, N.Y., pharmacy, and the Dec. 31 fatal shooting of an off-duty federal agent during a Seaford drugstore holdup.