LAFAYETTE, India (WLFI) – The Federal Drug Agency has approved a new, very powerful opioid drug. Now, some who work closely with opiate addiction and overdose have concerns.
It's called Dsuvia. It is an opioid drug that is 1,000 times stronger than morphine and 10 times stronger than fetanyl, which is the currently observed opioid in overdoses.
"We are in the midst of an opioid crisis and Lafayette is not immune to it," said Darrell Clase, Director of the Tippecanoe Emergency Ambulance Service.
When Jason Padgett from Home With Hope was asked if he thought the FDA would be able to keep Dsuvia out of the hands of those who would use it negatively, his answer was clear.
"No, I do not, always," he said.
"We are constantly, one to three times a day, called overdose here in the Tippecanoe region," said Clase.
Padgett works to help those who struggle with this disease through the recovery process.
"I just got a call on my way here that one of my friends was overjoyed and died last night and this makes three in the Lafayette area in the last 72 hours," he said.
So, of course, they are both worried about the direction Dsuvia will do.
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb published a statement earlier this week trying to address some of the drug concerns. He said it would be used to help our soldiers.
"The FDA has made it a high priority to ensure that our soldiers have access to treatments that meet the unique needs of the battlefield," his statement said in part.
But giving wounded soldiers could lead to a slippery slope. According to one study in 2014, 15% of veterans used regular opioids, much higher than the general population.
Although Padgett said that this drug can take the wrong hands, he still sees the other side of the coin.
"As a United States Mariner, when I can see that Dsuvia will be used to help those in the battlefield, I have to say that there is some value for it," he said. "We Punish the rest of the world because people looking for chemical escape? "
He said it is time for people to see addiction as a social issue.
"People need housing, they must be able to support their families, they have a purpose in life," he said. "Until we begin to teach people how to parents, how to deal with emotional and psychological issues."
The Clase is the one that responds to all calls for help and administration of recovery drugs such as Narcan and Naloxone.
"If a drug of this kind was to hit the roads it would create significant challenges for the EMS world," he said.
He said it is unknown if Narcan and Naloxone could revive an overdose in Dsuvia.
"We already have a limited amount of resources to tackle these people and adding something to the mix that I think continues to create more challenges," he said. "If we could control what is happening already, it would be a different story, but until that happens, I feel we are fighting a lost battle."
He said that if Dsuvia becomes more widespread, he and his team will be as dynamic as possible.
"It's something we'll look for education," he said. "Hopefully this will never happen, as it is only to be used in a health care environment, but we never know what can happen."
Padgett said there are many things going on in Lafayette to create a positive recovery environment.
"The Opioid Task Force is working on the possible creation of a community rehabilitation organization, Workforce One helps people find jobs in Caterpillar and SIA," he said. "These are the kinds of things that change people's lives."
They recently received a grant to form a Rapid Response Team, consisting of an EMS person and a certified person for peer compensation, who will go out and talk to anyone within 72 hours of overdose and chose not to ask for further assistance.
Padgett said the team should be operational by early December.