Due to continued and growing concern about the opioid epidemic, scientists are now trying to create an opioid painkiller that relieves pain without triggering the euphoria, dependence, and respiratory suppression that causes overdoses.
It is too common of a story that patients who are prescribed opiate pain medications for legitimate pain report becoming addicted to the medication that was meant to help them.
Scientists have developed a chemical that when given to mice reduces pain in a way that is similar to morphine but it does not impact their breathing or appear to make them high. The hope is that the compound is less lethal and has less potential for abuse than the current opioid medications.
Although the compound has not yet been tested on humans, there is hope that the future holds the promise of a prescription opiate pain reliever that will be a lot safer from dependence and fatal overdoses.