Monthly Archives: November 2009

The other side of the pain pill abuse epidemic

Oregon’s The Bulletin has an interesting analysis of what it terms the “pain pill conundrum” – namely, the allegedly chilling effect the OxyContin abuse phenomenon has had on those who legitimately use prescription painkillers to treat chronic pain. The article claims that of the estimated 50 million Americans who suffer from chronic pain, “a staggering number” of those patients are having trouble getting the help they need, with doctors reluctant to prescribe opiates for fear of attracting the attention of law enforcement agencies. This has left many patients complaining they’re being treated like criminals or drug addicts, having to prove their innocence in order to get needed treatment, the article claims.

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Oxy replacing crack cocaine: Fla. county jail officials

WPBF 25, the local affiliate of MSNBC in Palm Beach, Fla., discusses the disturbing uptick in the number of female inmates at St. Lucie County Jail who are addicted to prescription painkillers like OxyContin in this article. Jail officials say the number of female inmates has risen from 12 to 18 percent in the last two years, and that 80 percent of them are incarcerated due to some connection with prescription painkillers. According to one official, “we’re seeing this painkiller medication replace crack cocaine. It’s very easy to get hold of, it’s highly addictive, it’s ruining lives, it’s killing people, we’re inundated by parents and friends calling and saying what can you do for my daughter and son, and we’re trying our best to do something about it, but it’s very difficult.”

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Oxy use overtakes Wisc. city

This article in the Lacrosse Tribune describes the prevalence of OxyContin abuse in La Crosse, Wisc., a city that borders the Mississippi River. The story notes that the 2004 National Institute on Drug Abuse’s Monitoring the Future survey found that 9.3 percent of 12th-graders reported using Vicodin without a prescription in the past year, and 5 percent reported using Oxycontin.

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Oxy leads to heroin in Milwaukee area

OxyContin abuse in affluent Waukesha County, near Milwaukee, Wisc., has led to a massive spike in heroin abuse, according to this investigative report by TMJ4.

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Prescription drug abuse surpasses illegal drugs in Ark. county

Prescription drug abuse in Lawrence County, Ark. has become more of a common problem than traditional drug crimes, such as possession of methamphetamine and other narcotics, reports. The problem has gotten so bad that the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office is no longer accepting incident reports involving stolen prescription pills, because people have been using those reports to obtain more pills to sell, the site says.

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Ontario prepares for Oxy crackdown

In Ontario, Canada, the OxyContin abuse epidemic has become so severe that the province’s ministry of health is set to install strict new guidelines in how the painkiller is both prescribed and dispensed, according to this article in the Toronto Sun. Among other things, the government will require physicians to consider if a person has ever taken opioids previously before sending them off with a prescription and put more emphasis on whether pills should be prescribed to fulfill the need for a few days or a week instead of longer periods of time, the article says. A computer monitoring and tracking system is also being finalized to help monitor painkiller prescriptions. But critics have expressed skepticism about these measures, arguing that an emphasis on treatment, rehabilitation and education would be more effective, according to the article.

Read more about Canada’s OxyContin troubles here.

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Heroin, Oxy use up among Ore. teens

Oregon has become the latest state to see a massive increase in heroin and OxyContin use among teens, reports. Heroin has become so popular because it is cheaper than Oxycontin and provides a more intense high, the news outlet says. A related TV segment accompanies the story.

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Tulsa family describes Oxy abuse to Dr. Phil

A family in Tulsa, Okla. has shared their story of OxyContin addiction with media personality Dr. Phil, according to this article on The 19-year-old son who has been addicted to Oxy headed straight to rehab after the show, and discusses how easily he was able to obtain the painkiller. Watch the new outlet’s TV coverage of the story here. Watch an excerpt from the Dr. Phil episode here.

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Parents of overdose victim push for tougher laws in Kan.

The parents of a Johnson County, Kan. teen who died of a heroin overdose after battling an OxyContin addiction share their story with KMBC-TV. They’re calling for tougher drug enforcement laws in light of the suburban Kansas City county’s growing heroin problem. The article also discusses the increasing numbers of teen heroin addicts in the county, saying that in nearly every case, high schoolers who overdosed on heroin started by popping prescription pills. An accompanying TV news report is linked to the story.

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Father, son share story of son’s opiate addiction

As this heartwrenching article highlights, heroin addiction often has its roots in OxyContin abuse. A father and son share the son’s story of opiate addiction, and talk about the Oxy-to-heroin phenomenon in Braintree, Mass. As Watchdog has previously reported, the state is currently in the throes of a severe OxyContin and heroin abuse epidemic.

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