Senator Charles Schumer wrote a letter to the Food and Drug Administration urging the agency to proceed with caution when approving new "super painkillers" made with highly addictive pure hydrocodone.
Schumer said if the FDA approves four new drugs with nearly 10 times the potency of the widely abused painkiller Vicodine, it could put public safety at risk.
"Introducing such a powerful potentially harmful painkiller to the market at a time of sky-high prescription drug abuse and theft would be like throwing fuel on the fire of this epidemic," said the senator. "It would instantly become the most sought-after drug by addicts and criminals. It would make the crisis go from bad to worse."
Schumer said if the drugs make it to market, manufacturers should adopt the latest technology to prevent abuses.
Prescription drugs were at the center of a New Year's Eve pharmacy robbery in Seaford, N.Y. that left the robber and an off-duty federal agent dead.
Another robbery turned deadly at a pharmacy in Medford, Long Island back in June.