New U.S. Drug Strategy Targets Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic

This week the National Drug Control Policy branch of the White House announced a new national drug policy that targets the current epidemic of prescription drug abuse.  It is the first time the federal government has announced a comprehensive strategy for dealing with the non-medical use of prescription painkillers.  According to Assistant Secretary for Health Howard Koh, “Abuse of prescription drugs, especially opioids, represents an alarming public health crisis.”

Drug czar Gil Kerlikowske unveiled the new plan, which aims to reduce the non-medical use of powerful opioid painkillers like oxycodone by 15 percent over the next 5 years.  Kerlikowske’s press release described the magnitude of the prescription drug problem as exceeding the black tar heroin and crack cocaine epidemics of the 1970s and 1980s.

The plan will focus on four main areas: education for physicians, prescription tracking, drug disposal and …

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Score One for the Good Guys – One Less “Pill Mill” in Florida

Although we predict that the source for illegal Oxys and Vicodin pills will gravitate to our neighbors to the north and south, it is really good to see a criminal “doctor” go down.

An excellent article on Fox News gives a first person account of the “takedown” of one Dr. Jeffrey Lipman and the Midtown Medical Clinic.

The article describes the interrogation of the patients-in-waiting  and some shocking descriptions of Midtown’s policies.

For instance, patients pre-paid in cash for their doctor visit – a requirement to be a patient of Midtown. Another places that “cash only up front” is required is by drug dealers who sell crack and heroin on the streets of our cities. Well, one of the reasons that Midtown was on the authorities’ radar was that customers were shooting up the OxyContin pills right in the parking …

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Prescription Drugs on Campus – Oxy and Adderall Are Being Abused

Illicit drugs like cocaine and ecstasy are no longer the primary drugs of choice on college campuses.  In the past decade, the non-medical use of prescription drugs has skyrocketed among college students.  A 2010 survey of approximately 95,000 college students by the American College Health Association revealed that 15% of students admit to using prescription drugs without a prescription.
The types of drugs most commonly abused and the percent of students using them include:
•    Pain killers – 9.3% (includes OxyContin and Vicodin)
•    Stimulants – 7% (includes Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta)
•    Sedatives – 4.5% (includes Xanax, Valium)
•    Antidepressants – 3.2% (includes Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil)

Prescription drugs are readily available to college students.  According to research from the University of Michigan, most students obtain prescription drugs from family and friends.  Another source is physicians who overmedicate minor medical problems.  …

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Pharmacies are the New Battleground as Thieves Seek OxyContin

“We Do Not Stock OxyContin” — signs like this are showing up in the windows of more and more pharmacies as robbers seeking the highly addictive painkiller become more brazen.  The New York Times recently reported on a pharmacist in Maine who stopped filling prescriptions for OxyContin

following a robbery by two men wearing ski masks and wielding knives.  The robbers were seeking only one thing —  OxyContin.  Rather than hiring a security guard, pharmacist Chet Hibbard decided to stop dispensing the drug and to post signs letting potential thieves know that they wouldn’t find OxyContin in his store.

Since its introduction in 1996, OxyContin has become the best-selling narcotic pain medication in the U.S.  Its time-release formula has allowed many people who suffer from chronic pain to live more active lives.  Unfortunately, OxyContin has also become one of the …

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Ontario Canada – Florida’s Replacement (for Oxy Addicts)

In Ontario Canada, researchers found that physicians are over-prescribing narcotic pain killers. Ontario drug researchers are linking this six year investigation to the reason for an increase addiction and deaths caused by prescription drugs in their region. Efforts are in the works trying to curb addiction and monitor those that are being prescribed the narcotics.

Will Ontario become a smuggler’s paradise? Will it feed the lower 48 states with Oxy and other drugs once Florida gets its act together and handles the prescription drug epidemic there?

The province’s public drug plan for Canadians in Ontario covers prescription narcotic pain killers. Research done by Ontario Drug Policy Research Network discovered that the plan was exceeding the amount of doses set out in Canadian clinical guidelines. Tara Gomes who is the project leader and epidemiologist for the Ontario Drug Policy Research Network, …

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One Clear Sign of an Epidemic: Pharmacy Robberies

The addiction for pharmaceuticals is at an all time high. One consequence is that there has been an unprecedented number of robberies at major chain pharmacies. As other crimes across the nation are seeing reductions, this crime that is increasing.

Major pharmacies have had to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars upgrading security. The penalties are stiff, and once caught  the perpetrators get a rude awaking of the federal system.

Coast to Coast Pharmacy Crimes

Knoxville Suffers: One area where there has been a rise in prescription drug armed robberies is Knoxville Tennessee.  Authorities  have noticed a drastic increase in drug store robberies in the past year.  Knoxville police department shows that robberies jumped from 26 to 44 from 2009 to 2010.     In the month of December 2010 investigators worked on ten cases – including one day where there were …

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New Formula of Oxy Leads to Heroin Abuse, Addiction

It has been almost a year since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released their new formulation for OxyContin. The FDA released the new design of the tablet to help prevent the illegal misuse and abuse of the pain relieving drug. As successful as the new formula may be, the new version is causing authorities across the nation new stress. Authorities have been noticing a rise in more individuals turning to heroin to get the sensation of euphoria that at one time OxyContin was able to fulfill.

On April 5, 2010 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the new formulation of the time controlled-release drug OxyContin. OxyContin is made to slowly release potent opioid oxycodone into patients that require management of a continuous around-the-clock pain suppressant. However, because of OxyContin’s time-released formula, each tablet contains large doses of oxycodone. …

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Addiction Professional’s Take on the Silent Epidemic

Our addiction counselor Tif B had the below to say about this excellent article on Novasans.com.

“This is a subject that needs to have this kind of discussion and exposure. The increase in prescription drug addiction has been steadily increasing for several years. There is also a perception by the general public, that because it is “prescribed” and is legal, there is not a danger of addiction.

Once addicted to the pain killers, the person will “create” pains and see their doctors more often, for further prescriptions. Most doctors will question or refuse to prescribe more. The person who is addicted will then get creative and either buys them in the streets or go “doctor shopping”. “Doctor shopping” is the process of the person going from doctor to doctor, until they get a doctor that will prescribe what they want. …

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OxyContin Part of Dramatic Rise in ER Visits

In 2009, more than 1.2 million people were treated in hospital emergency rooms for the non medical use of prescription and over-the-counter drugs.  This number has more than doubled in recent years, from about 500,000 visits in 2004.  For the first time, the number of emergency room visits for the non-medical use of both prescription and over-the-counter drugs surpassed the number of visits for illicit drug abuse.

The figures were based on a study conduction by the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), a government program that monitors ER visits and deaths caused by drugs.  According to DAWN, the prescription drugs that were most often involved in ER visits were:

  • Opioids, which are used to relieve pain and include oxycodone (brand names OxyContin and Roxicodone), hydrocone and methadone.
  • Benzodiazepines, which are used to treat anxiety and insomnia and include the brands
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Analyzing Statisitcs about Addiction to Painkillers

Do The Math About Addiction Rates

Mark Twain once wrote that there are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics.

Perhaps there’s some truth in the author-humorist’s line because we’ve all heard enough statistics in our lifetimes to make a grown man cry!

It’s often difficult to get to the truth when someone throws a bunch of scholarly-sounding numbers at us, and proving statistical information is a lost cause unless you’re a researcher with nothing else to do.

The following statistics were taken from a web site for “The Waismann Method” and refers to this treatment center’s program of rapid detoxification from prescription painkilling opiate drugs. It cites information gained from the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse.

  • Two million Americans use prescription painkillers each year
  • In some areas of the country, addiction to painkillers has overtaken that
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