Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is defending the state's first-in-the-nation ban on Zohydro, a powerful new painkiller, as it faces a federal court lawsuit challenging its constitutionality.

On Tuesday, a federal judge suggested Patrick might have been ``out of line'' in issuing a March 27 executive order banning the drug in Massachusetts.

Patrick, at an unrelated Statehouse event, responded that he wouldn't have issued the order if he did not think the state had legal footing. He called Zohydro, which went to market in March, an ``unusually dangerous drug.''

U.S. District Court Judge Rya Zobel is set to hear more detailed arguments Monday, after which she is expected to decide whether to lift the ban, at least temporarily.  {Associated Press)