Is OxyContin Still King?

There are growing signs around the country that the abuse of OxyContin is diminishing. The drug is being bypassed during pharmacy robberies in favor of Opana, methadone and other narcotic drugs, and some hospital emergency rooms are reporting a decrease in OxyContin overdoses.

According to Forbes, the Journal of Pain and other publications, the introduction of a new tamper-resistant form of OxyContin in 2010 seems to be responsible for a decrease in abuse of the drug. Drug addicts previously crushed OxyContin pills to circumvent the drugs time-release mechanism and experience the full impact of the drug in one rush. Instead of allowing drug abusers to crush the pill for snorting or injection, the new OxyContin turns into a gummy mush when tampered with.

Unfortunately, the reformulation of OxyContin does not appear to be leading to an overall drop in drug

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Mayor Bloomberg Limits Painkiller Use in NY Hospitals

In response to a citywide and national epidemic of prescription drug abuse, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has instituted a policy in New York City that will restrict the use of prescription painkillers in the city’s public hospitals. The policy, which will affect the distribution of prescription drugs from hospital emergency rooms, could set a model for hospitals across the nation.

Under Bloomberg’s new policy, emergency room patients will only be given three days worth of narcotic drugs like Percocet and Vicodin. Oxycontin, which has been shown to be one of the most addictive painkillers, will not be distributed at all from 11 public emergency rooms. This is also true of methadone and Fentanyl patches. Emergency rooms also will not fill painkiller prescriptions that are reported to have been stolen, lost or destroyed.

One of the goals of the new policy is …

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Drug Ring Salvages OxyContin and Vicodin Pills from Medical Waste Company

The demand for narcotic prescription drugs is so high that drug dealers will go to almost any length to get their hands on drugs to sell. A San Diego drug ring took this to an extreme by intercepting thousands of pills that were slated to be destroyed and selling them on the black market.

 

Agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration arrested John Bonavita and two employees of Enserv West LLC, a medical waste disposal firm. The employees diverted pills that were slated to be destroyed to Bonavita, who sold them to other dealers. As part of a plea agreement, Bonavita admitted to purchasing and reselling 13,000 hydrocodone tablets (a pain medication that’s sold under the brand name Vicodin), 900 oxycodone tablets (another painkiller sold under the name OxyContin), 111 methadone tablets and 350 morphine tablets.

 

The drug…
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Prescription Meds Increasingly Prescribed

At the root of the Prescription Drug Abuse epidemic is the reckless prescription of the drugs themselves.

A couple of shocking statistics that we have shared here but bear repeating:

  • Purdue Pharmaceuticals revenue for OxyContin alone in 2010 was:  $ 3,084,262,027.00
  • Number of prescriptions written for Hydrocodone (Vicodin) in the U.S in 2010 was: 106,777,390
  • “According to recent estimates, Florida prescribes ten times more oxycodone pills than all other states combined. ” (U.S. Attorney Wifredo A .Ferrer stated recently)
  • The United States makes up only 4.6 percent of the world’s population, but consumes 80 percent of its opioids — and 99 percent of the world’s hydrocodone (the opiate that is in Vicodin)
  • 1 in 5 U.S. adults taking meds for Psychological Disorders

It’s no wonder that practices like the above have led to rampant  prescription drug abuse in the United …

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Death of Whitney Houston Needs to Put Focus on Prescription Drug Abuse

The exact cause of Whitney Houston’s death is still under investigation, but her long history of drug abuse indicates that she may be another celebrity whose privileged life was cut short by addiction. Based on the contents of her hotel room, authorities are already speculating that prescription drug abuse may have played a role in her death. In just the past few years, Michael Jackson, Heath Ledger, Brittany Murphy and Anna Nicole Smith lost their lives to prescription drug overdoses. Over the decades, other iconic stars including Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe and Judy Garland died prematurely because of prescription drug abuse.

Tabloid newspapers and website are kept busy these days by the high number of celebrities struggling with prescription drug abuse while reality shows like “Celebrity Rehab” chronicle their recovery. One unfortunate side effect of the focus on celebrity drug …

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Doctors Call for an End to Long-Term Prescriptions for Opioid Painkillers

In response to the growing problem of prescription painkiller abuse in the U.S., three California doctors are calling on their colleagues to rethink the use of narcotic prescription drugs as medication for patients who experience chronic pain.  In the U.S., opioid painkillers including OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin are now prescribed more than any other drugs.  According to the doctors, up to 20% of patient visits to physicians result in a prescription for one of these opioid drugs.

Dr. Deborah Grady, Dr. Seth Berkowitz and Dr. Mitchell Katz have published their plea as an editorial in the Archives of Internal Medicine.  The doctors state that 20-40% of adults report non-cancer chronic pain and that opioids have become the most common form of treatment even though few studies are available that examine the use of these drugs for the long-term treatment of …

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Frustration over Vicodin-Hydrocodone Classification

Hydrocodone, the key ingredient in Vicodin and other prescription medicines, is the second-most abused prescription drug in the nation (oxycodone, the key ingredient in OxyContin and Percocet, is number one).  It has been linked to thousands of overdoses, including those of celebrities Heath Ledger and Brittany Murphy, and has been the cause of a flood of pharmacy robberies across the nation.  As states crackdown on oxycodone sales, people who are addicted to painkillers are turning to hydrocodone.  Earlier this summer a man gunned down four people in a New York pharmacy and walked out with 11,000 hydrocodone pills.

Despite the obvious addiction and overdose  danger associated with hydrocodone, Vicodin is also very damaging to the liver.  Still, federal regulators have been unable to decide that it’s time to tighten access to this drug. Since 1999, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration …

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