The first injectable form of the leading medication used to treat patients addicted opioids has been approved by US health officials.
On Thursday the Food and Drug Administration approved a once-a-month injection of the drug Sublocade for adults with opioid addictions who are already stabilized on medication.
This injection is meant substitute the current daily medication and reduce the risk of dangerous relapses that happen when patients stop taking it.
The approval comes amid the deadliest drug epidemic in US history that killed 64,000 Americans last year - more than gun violence or car crashes.
The FDA approved a monthly injection called Sublocade to treat those addicted to opioids
There has been a longstanding gap in medication-based treatment for patients recovering from addiction to opioids, including painkillers like OxyContin and illegal narcotics like heroin and fentanyl.
Between 2000 and 2015, US deaths from synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, which is up to 100 times more powerful than morphine, rose by 1,125 percent.
In the same 15 years deaths from all opioids rose by 294 percent.
Overall drug overdose deaths in the US reached around 64,000 last year, up from 52,000 in 2015; more than half of which were related to opioids.
Europe's overdose deaths rose for the third consecutive year in 2015 to 8,441; 81 percent of which were related to opioids, including heroin.
President Trump has said that America's opioid crisis is now a 'national emergency'.
About half a million Americans died from drug overdoses between 2000 and 2014.
Drugmaker Indivior already sells the injection's key ingredient, buprenorphine, in medicated strips that dissolve under