Opana Overtaking OxyContin as Most Abused Painkiller

Fort Wayne, Indiana, a medium-sized city of 200,000, has experienced more than a dozen pharmacy robberies since the beginning of 2012. In almost every case, the robbers were after a powerful prescription painkiller named Opana. Less well-known than OxyContin, Opana is the brand name for oxymorphone. Like OxyContin, Opana is an opiate medication that carries a high risk of abuse, dependency and overdose. Unlike OxyContin, Opana is still available in an extended-release formula that appeals to abusers who are seeking a more intense high. According to drug enforcement experts, the rising popularity of Opana can be attributed to a change made to OxyContin that makes pills harder to crush for snorting or dissolve for injecting. Individuals who are addicted to prescription drugs have a tendency to adapt according the drug availability and many are now turning to Opana to feed their addiction. States that are known for prescription drug abuse, including Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York as well as Indiana, are seeing a growth in Opana abuse. Last…

Continue Reading

Texas Launches Online Tool to Fight Drug Abuse

The State of Texas has added a new weapon to its arsenal in the war against prescription drug abuse and doctor shopping. The Texas Department of Public Safety has responded to the growing prescription drug problem by launching an online tool to identify drug abusers and dealers by tracking prescription painkillers like OxyContin and other controlled drugs. The new tool is an online database called Prescription Access in Texas. Prior to the introduction of the new database, pharmacists sent prescription data to a paper-based system. Getting information out of the old system could take several days or longer. Now more than 100,000 health care professionals and law enforcement officials will be able to find out immediately which medications a Texas patient has received in the past year. In addition to revealing which patients are abusing or dealing drugs, the Prescription Access system can be used to identify doctors who are overprescribing narcotic drugs. The Center for Disease Controls and Prevention has reported that prescription drug overdoses from opioid painkillers…

Continue Reading

Who Should Pay for Prescription Drug Disposal?

Government drug experts have found that many teenagers and adults who abuse prescription drugs obtain them from people they know with prescriptions or steal them from the medicine cabinets of family and friends. Starting in 2010, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency has held a series of National Prescription Drug Take-Back Days to encourage Americans to safely dispose of unused and unwanted prescription medications. More than 5600 take-back sites have been established, covering all 50 states. The Take-Back program has removed a total of 775 tons of medication from circulation, avoiding the chances of diversion and abuse.   The National Prescription Drug Take-Back program has been so effective that some local jurisdictions have established their own drug drop-off programs. In Alameda County in Northern California, 28 publicly-funded drop locations are available year round for residents to dispose of prescription drugs. Besides keeping prescription drugs out of the hands of people who may abuse them, drug disposal programs like the one in Alameda County protect the environment by keeping drugs out…

Continue Reading

NarxCheck – Prescription Drug Abuse Can Now Be Scored

A recent article on the Sober Living by the Sea Blog offered a glimpse into the future of prescription drug abuse detection and management. According to the write-up, a physician living in the Dayton Ohio area has created a new type of software that is able to “score” a patient’s risk of becoming abusive with prescription drugs. The physician, Dr. Jim Huizenga, has labeled the new software NarxCheck. This newly devised software, according to the article, will be used in a pilot study designed to look at prescription drug practices. It appears that the software is able to use information from the electronic health records of the patient to forewarn of the potential for possible prescription drug abuse. The way the system is designed it will actually track the number of prescriptions an individual receives, as well as the dosages of those prescriptions. In addition, NarxCheck will also look at and determine the number of doctors and individual has seen for a particular prescription, and track the number of…

Continue Reading

Prescription Pads Play a Key Role in Drug Abuse

For decades, the small pads of paper used to write prescriptions have been an iconic part of every doctor's office. Now these seemingly innocent tablets are assuming a more sinister role. According to drug enforcement officials, stolen and forged prescription pads are at the heart of the current epidemic of prescription drug abuse.  In some recent cases, such as that of Dr. Lisa Barden of Rancho Cucamonga, doctors have stolen prescription pads from other doctors and used them to obtain highly addictive painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin. In other cases, pads are printed by counterfeiters. Many law enforcement officials and lawmakers see paper prescriptions as an old fashioned mechanism that encourages fraud. Prescription pads are in high demand on the black market; law enforcement officials report that drug dealers will pay up to $400 for a stolen prescription drug pad. Up until seven years ago, California required doctors to create triple copies of prescriptions. That requirement was dropped when "tamper-proof" forms were introduced, but criminals soon found ways to…

Continue Reading

Study: Prescription Drug Abuse Begins with Pills from Family, Friends

More than 70 percent of people who abuse prescription painkillers first obtain the drugs from the family medicine cabinet or are given pills by friends or relatives, according to a new government study released by the DEA. The findings are based on a two-year national survey of approximately 70,000 Americans over the age of 12. Reliance on family and friends for prescription drugs is most common among occasional abusers (those who abuse drugs less than once a week) and new abusers. When abuse becomes chronic, many turn to doctors, the Internet or drug dealers as a source for prescription drugs. Among chronic abusers, about 40 percent continue to obtain pills from friends and relatives. The pills are either given freely or taken without the owner's knowledge. Approximately 7 million American are currently believed to be prescription drug abusers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that prescription drugs are responsible for about 75 percent of all fatal drug overdoses in the nation. This is more than the overdose…

Continue Reading

Is OxyNEO Just An Invention to Maximize Profits

Canadians have been drastically affected by OxyContin just as citizens the United States have. The instances of addiction, overdose, and heroin use are off the charts since opiate drugs have exploded in popularity.  The announcement of "harder to abuse" OxyNEO from Purdue Pharma seemed like promising news but there are skeptics. In a recent article in the Canadian new source theStar.com, the question is raised whether or not OxyNEO is really just a timely invention due to OxyContin patent protection expiring. The article argues that Purdue Pharma was threatened by the inevitable OxyContin generics that would be coming to market since the patent for the OxyContin drug would have expired in November.  Now, the companies who were already in development of "generic" OxyContin face an unsure future as gneric versions of the drug may or may not be allowed to come to market in Canada. Big Pharma = Big Business, But at What Cost? Big Pharma is definitely a profitable endeavor, but there's blood on the hands of these companies.…

Continue Reading

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,…

Continue Reading

Former NFL Quarterback Arrested on Oxycontin Burglary

Ryan Leaf in 1998 had one of the most promising futures of any quarterback in history. Now, his future seems as bleak as a hardened felon, as he stares at the possibility of serving 50 years in prison on probation violations, burglary charges and possession of Oxycontin that he did not have a prescription for.   To really understand his fall, you have to look back at where he was 14 years ago. The major debate in the sport's world at the time of the 1998 NFL draft was, Ryan Leaf or Payton Manning. Who would the Colts take with their number one draft pick? Over and over the debate raged, and it seemed like a toss up of whom would go first. It ended up being Payton Manning, who would go on to be possibly the greatest quarterback of all time, with Leaf getting drafted 2nd, and receiving a huge multi-million dollar contract.   Ryan Leaf's on-field troubles began almost immediately. He fought with coaches, other players, missed…

Continue Reading