Opana Cuts a Deadly Path through Rural America

Opana is now almost universally sought out by opiate addicted individuals. This drug is a little newer and may not sound as familiar as OxyContin or Vicodin, but it creates the same type of “opiate high” as those drugs (and heroin).

Opana is especially notable for it’s potency (and thus, proclovity for addiction and overdose).

The Chicago Tribute recently focused on the growing problem of Opana abuse in rural areas of America. Opana, a narcotic painkiller that contains oxymorphone, is one of the highly addictive drugs that are part of the nation’s current epidemic of prescription drug abuse.

Scott County in Indiana is an example of the type of rural area that has been hardest hit by Opana abuse. Located in southern Indiana, the county has a population of about 24,000. According to county coroner Kevin Collins, at least 9 people have died from prescription drug overdoses so far this year. Most of these deaths were caused by Opana. Last year there were 19 overdose deaths in the county, amounting to about half of all cases investigated by the coroner. “We’re seeing a lot of 25-year-olds who are dead for no apparent reason,” said Collins.

opana stop sign
No Mystery Why They’re Called “Stop Signs” or “Octagons”in the Drug Community

Opana is referred to on the street as Octagons, Stop Signs, New Blues and a variety of other names. Unlike OxyContin, Opana pills can be crushed and then snorted or injected for a heroin-like high. Law enforcement officials attribute the rise in Opana abuse to the reformulation of OxyContin (the brand name for oxycodone). In 2010, the maker of OxyContin was pressured into making the pills harder to crush. Many former OxyContin abusers who have turned to Opana may be unaware that it is more potent than OxyContin and is associated with a great risk of overdose.

Until a few years ago, the most abused drug in small towns was methamphetamine. Prescription painkillers are now more widely abused than meth and the Centers for Disease Control has reported that more people are dying in the U.S. from prescription drugs than from cocaine and heroin combined.

Prescription drug abusers obtain drugs by doctor shopping or buy them from dealers or from people with legitimate prescriptions. According to Scott County Sheriff Dan McLain, one Opana pill can bring up to $90 on the street. Small towns also have their share of unethical doctors who will write prescriptions for a fee when there is no medical reason for the drug. In 2010, the equivalent of 48 oxycodone pills per capita were sold in the county – the highest number in the state.

Endo Pharmaceuticals, the maker of Opana, has announced that it will reformulate Opana to make the pills crush-proof. In the meantime, the crushable form of Opana is still readily available. Since Endo’s announcement, rural areas have seen an uptick in pharmacy robberies that involve Opana.

Opana is potentially deadly upon every use and those who are getting caught in the web of opiate dependency  should seek treatment for opana addiction. For more up to date information about opana, refer to the American Addiction Foundation page about Opana.