Uncut hydrocodone to market mayhem

Posted on January 15, 2012


Uncut hydrocodone

Capsule hydrocodone without aspirin Illustration by Candice Martinez

The pharmaceutical company Zogenix plans to market Zohydro, a raw form of hydrocodone.

Current forms of hydrocodone, such as Vicodin, contain acetaminophen.   Zogenix claims the aspirin-free Zohydro will be better for liver filtration.

In reality, the drug is going to leak into to the streets to the underground market. The company knows this, pharmacists know this, street dealers know this, pharmaceutical sales people know this, doctors know this, and pill heads definitely know this.  Aspirin-free Zyhydro means uncut hydrocodone.  Aspirin gets in the way of getting the best high possible.

7.5 hydrocodone

7.5 hydrocodone is cut with aspirin, which harms the liver Photo by Candice Martinez

The pharmaceutical companies have made net incomes worth tens of  millions of dollars; this drug will guarantee a return on investment that Pablo Escobar could not even imagine. Ironically, this same drug will send some people to prison, while making others filthy rich. It will cause crime and overdoses on Main Street, while bringing investors to Wall Street.

According to a nydailynews.com article, Zohydro has a potency that is ten times stronger than a weak Vicodine dosage.

It is a good thing street dealers do not have portfolios because they will have serious competition with the legitimate market.  Think of the markets as positive (legal) and negative (illegal) dimensions on a grid.


It is intended for the markets to fall into quadrants I and III. In reality, the markets fall into quadrants II and IV. Layout by Candice Martinez

Imagine if one could graph net incomes on the above chart.  In theory, the War on Drugs, FDA, and DEA regulate the legal market to run in Quadrant I, with the separate illegal market allocated to Quadrant III. In reality, the pharmaceutical companies earn income from distribution in the form of refills, which partly includes refills from street sales. Once the street dealer’s supply runs dry, a refill is needed, and a prescription is obtained through various methods. Therefore, the legal market is allocated to Quadrant II. This reciprocates to the illegal market that takes the legitimate distribution aspect a step further, thus turning another profit for the street dealer. Legal opiate pills and heroin are cash crops for the black market trade. The combined two are allocated to Quadrant IV.

According a rehabalert.com article, there are fears that Zohydro will be Oxycontin all over again.  Oxycontin is a raw form of oxycodone, which became the drug-of-choice for many addicts over the last decade.  Zogenix plans to apply a capsule coat to administer an extended time release of uncut hydrocodone.

A person looking to get high will simply empty out the capsule and snort the stuff.  Who wants a time-release if the stuff can hit all at once?

According to a nytimes.com article, Purdue Pharma attempted to solve the Oxycontin epidemic by engineering a nonsnortable or noninjectable formula.

It may not be snortable, but it is still dissolvable under the tongue or chewable between the molars.

According to rehabilitation-drug.net, there are plans to heavily monitor Zohydro’s refill authorizations, but strict authorization policy has been in effect for several abused pills for a while.

According to a nydailynews.com article, Zogenix plans to submit the application for FDA approval after March.