A number of drug companies are trying to develop strong painkillers that don’t make people high, according to The Wall Street Journal. Such drugs would be less likely to be abused.
Companies seeking new painkillers include biotech startups, as well as large drug manufacturers such as Pfizer and Biogen. Experts say a safer painkiller could achieve annual sales in the billions of dollars.
Some companies are testing drugs that trigger different opioid receptors in the brain than the ones triggered by traditional opioids, which can cause euphoric effects. The companies hope these different receptors will have similar painkilling properties, without triggering euphoria.