Monthly Archives: October 2009

Grieving mother marches to ban Oxy

Justine McIntyre lost her 19-year-old son to an overdose of prescription painkillers, and now she’s lobbying lawmakers to make OxyContin illegal, according to the Reporter. McIntyre notes the Oxy-to-heroin transition, with many legitimate Oxy users graduate to Oxy abuse and then turn to cheaper heroin to fuel their addiction, the news outlet says. Just as heroin was made illegal due to its dangers, Oxy should be similarly banned, McIntyre says, according to the publication.

The march on Washington Saturday is being organized by, which wants the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to ban the distribution of OxyContin to new patients and put a “compassionate program” in place for people currently taking the drug with the aim of full withdrawal.

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Calgary sees rise in Oxy pharmacy thefts

gun2Calgary, Canada has seen an alarming spike in drugstore robberies of OxyContin, with 43 such crimes this year up from just 17 last year, the Calgary Sun reports. While seizures of prescription sedatives and stimulants have stayed fairly consistent in recent years, painkillers such as oxycodone have about tripled since 2000, the publication said, citing Health Canada.

Watchdog previously noted Canada’s rising Oxy abuse problem here.

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More stats needed on teenage Oxy use

San Diego County recently launched a task force to deal with the region’s growing OxyContin abuse phenomenon, with officials noting particular concern with the rising rates of teen and young adult abuse. Now, the Voice of San Diego points out that while Oxy has become the face of prescription drug abuse, many other such medicines are contributing to addiction as well. The publication notes that while oxycodone appears to be contributing to more drug-related deaths among teens, it’s unclear how many use the painkiller illicitly and how many are being treated for addiction.

Good point – hopefully the efforts by the task force will help build our knowledge base.

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Balancing Oxy's uses

After the The Kansas City Star ran a story on the massive uptick in the number of young people in Johnson County, Kan. who are overdosing on heroin and OxyContin, one reader wrote in to argue that “misrepresentations of the drug’s power to cause addiction creates a burdensome stigma.” It’s another example of the heated debate over OxyContin’s legitimate and illegitimate uses, and how to balance them.

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Coming off Oxy

heroinspoonMany OxyContin addicts continue their abuse because they fear the heroin withdrawal-like symptoms that can accompany coming off the painkiller. This article from The Telegram weighs the pros and cons of various opioid withdrawal methods, including the two most popular ways, methadone and going cold turkey.

In the spirit of sharing information, Watchdog will be following online discussions – like this one involving Oxy and heroin withdrawal – on this page.

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Oxy eases path to heroin in Philly area

Authorities in Bucks County, Penn. say they are seeing increasing numbers of people who have become addicted to prescription painkillers like OxyContin turning to heroin because it’s more affordable, reports. One prevention specialist told the site that “a resounding 90 percent” of clients at his methadone clinic switched to heroin after becoming addicted to pills.

This transition is causing problems because the heroin available nowadays is purer and thus more potent, increasing the potential for overdoses, one police chief told the site.

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Arrested actor was Hollywood's Oxy go-to: DEA

Sam Jones, best known for his role as Clark Kent’s best friend Pete Ross on the TV show “Smallville,” has been arrested as part of a drug bust that uncovered a conspiracy to illegally distribute more than 10,000 Mexican-produced oxycodone pills, celebrity news site TMZ reports. Court documents reportedly connected with the case imply that Jones was the “Hollywood connection” for one of the conspirators, stating that “the unnamed co-conspirator knows people in the Hollywood community who are willing to purchase narcotics.” The conspirators also allegedly referred to Oxy as “pharmaceutical heroin.”

CurrentTV, which recently produced a short film on OxyContin abuse, notes that even though prescription drug abuse is skyrocketing, “we only seem to hear about it when the drug goes Hollywood.”

It’s Watchdog’s hope that this blog can help change that.

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San Diego rolls out Oxy take-back program

trashcanJust after launching a task force to deal with San Diego’s OxyContin abuse epidemic, government officials are rolling out “Operation Take Back” to deal with unwanted and unused prescription drugs. The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department will be accepting drugs at locations around the county in an effort to prevent teen drug abuse.

*Update: The La Jolla Light reports that about 20 boxes’ worth of drugs were collected at the event.

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Oxy film exposes Fla.'s pill pipeline

Take 47 minutes and 16 seconds out of your day to check out this new documentary on the OxyContin abuse epidemic – you won’t be disappointed. Current TV correspondent Mariana van Zeller travels to South Florida, the “Colombia of prescription drugs,” where 11 people every day die of prescription drug overdoses. Named after a flight from Ft. Lauderdale to Huntington, W. Va. that has come to be known as the “Oxy Express” because so many addicts and pill pushers use it to transport Oxys across state lines, the film posits the question of ethical breaches by doctors and so-called pain clinics with no problem doling out pills like candy. Perhaps most compelling is the story of one 27-year-old addict who is still abusing the painkiller after his brother and wife both died of Oxy overdoses.

Read van Zeller’s interview with Hulu about the making of the documentary here.

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SF drug crackdown lends boost to Oxy dealers

heroinfoilSan Francisco’s “Operation Safe Schools,” an initiative aimed at keeping heroin and cocaine at a 1,000-foot distance from schools, has resulted in far few sales of those drugs, but has had an unexpected consequence: a spike in illegal sales of pills like OxyContin, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Lt. Jim Miller of the field operations bureau said he believes state law should be changed so dealing pills near schools comes with the same penalty as heroin and crack – a bail enhancement and an extra three to five years in prison, the paper says.

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