Monthly Archives: June 2011

Really, Nike?

Sports retailer Nike recently came under fire over a series of controversial T-shirts that appear to reference drug use by using phrases like “Get High” and “F**k Gravity.” The worst offender? The “Dope” shirt, which features skateboards, snowboards, and other images spilling out of a pill bottle. After Boston’s mayor complained about a local storefront display featuring the shirts, the company said the shirts were part of its “Nike 6.0” action sports campaign and pulled some of the shirts from the display, but is still selling them online. In case you’re wondering what Nike designers were thinking, here is the explanation from the company’s website in regards to the “Dope” shirt – which, by the way, is meant for “the adrenaline fiend:”

The Nike 6.0 Just Do It “Dope” Men’s T-Shirt is all about sports obsession. Featuring a prescription for serious action, this tee has a loose, comfortable fit.


If you don’t think Nike should get $20 for every t-shirt displaying that message, here’s the company’s information:

1-800-344-6453 (6am – 4pm PST, Monday – Friday)

Send an online message:

Write a letter:
Nike USA Inc.
Consumer Services
One Bowerman Drive
Beaverton, OR 97005-6453

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The silent killer

I just spent a week in Florida doing research on prescription drug addiction. I’m not kidding when I say it’s like Armageddon for pills here. Of course, I knew all the stats – that Florida’s doctors prescribe 85% of the nation’s oxycodone, that 7 people a day die here due to pill overdoses, etc. – but seeing the fallout with my own eyes was still a shock.

Everyone’s talking about the new rules Florida recently put into place to crack down on pill mills, as well as the state’s prescription drug monitoring program, which is finally set to become active after years of legislative delay. But while all agree these are good measures, I got mixed responses as to how helpful they’ll really be. They come late to the scene. A generation of painkiller addicts has already been created. What’s going to happen when their pill supply dries up? Some say they’ll seek treatment. Some say they’ll get their pills in Georgia, where new pill mills are a fast-growing cottage industry. Some say they’ll go the route of Massachusetts, and turn to heroin.

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Watch it: “The Pill Problem” by NCAPDA

It will take less than half an hour of your time to watch this amazing account by the National Coalition Against Prescription Drug Abuse of the toll prescription drug addiction can take on young lives – but your mind may be forever changed. Featured in the video is NCAPDA founder April Rovero, whose son Joey died in December 2009 from a lethal combination of alcohol and misused prescription medication. Friends of Joey and another casualty of the epidemic, Matt Varon, share how pill abuse shattered their lives. Please watch and share!

Part 1:

Part 2:

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Life beyond opiates…it DOES exist!

Matt Ganem, from Roslindale, Mass., knows first-hand how OxyContin and heroin addiction can destroy lives: his was almost one of them. With more than five years of sobriety under his belt, Matt has taken a creative approach to the horrors of opiate addiction through his hard-hitting poetry and writing. Check out his work.

Matt says: “This video was done to recreate the temptations I faced when I first got clean and for how hard it is to escape the grip of addiction. My gateway to dope was in a small painkiller, OxyContin, that I knew little about but it made me feel invincible, when I first started I had no idea it was synthetic heroin. It led me to a criminal lifestyle and a path to the needle. Over five years have gone by without taking an opiate. I write poetry as an outlet for myself along with giving a voice to those still struggling with addiction and to let them know that they’re not alone, that they can make it out alive.”

A book of Matt’s poetry, “Carried By Wings Of Protection,” is due out this fall. Here’s a sneak peak:

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Debate over the role of parenting in Oxy addiction

OxyContin and heroin addiction has taken Massachusetts by storm, as we have previously reported. What’s interesting about this article in The Enterprise is the backlash in the comments section about the role of parenting in addiction. As you can see, there are some people who think good parenting is a cure-all solution. Parents with opiate-addicted children can tell you otherwise.

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New OxyContin fuels abuse of other pills, heroin

As we reported last month, Purdue’s new version of OxyContin has done little to address the epidemic of addiction its painkiller has caused. Not only are addicts figuring out ways to abuse OP, they’re also increasingly turning to other prescription drugs with oxycodone, such as Percocet 30s and Roxycodone – as well as the painkiller Opana, according to this article in the New York Times. They’re also turning to heroin, which is cheaper and provides the same high. Purdue’s comment on these developments? The company is “cautiously optimistic” that the reformulation will eventually prove less susceptible to abuse but says it’s “still too early to make any conclusions about the product’s impact on abuse and misuse in real-world settings,” the article says.

Let’s get real. Purdue didn’t take OxyContin off the market because it’s making money hand over fist – it just found a way to make even MORE money hand over fist.

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Watchdog Reports: Interview with Current TV’s Mariana van Zeller

In 2009’s The OxyContin Express, Current TV correspondent Mariana van Zeller traveled to South Florida, the “Colombia of prescription drugs,” to report on the state’s OxyContin epidemic. In Gateway to Heroin, premiering June 20, van Zeller heads to Massachusetts to follow up on how Florida’s pill mills have fueled a new phenomenon: opiate addicts turning to heroin for a cheaper, more available high. Watchdog asked van Zeller to weigh in on how prescription drug abuse has created a generation of heroin addicts.

Watchdog: How has the face of Oxy addiction changed since the making of The OxyContin Express?

Van Zeller: It’s only getting worse. Prescription drug addiction is killing more people than cocaine, ecstasy and heroin combined. The biggest problem now is that for this younger generation of kids who are already addicted to Oxy, they are turning to heroin, which is more potent and incredibly dangerous. We interviewed one kid in Massachusetts who was an all-star athlete and was injured in the last football game of his senior year. He left the hospital with a prescription for Oxy for his back injury, and soon he was a full-blown heroin addict. He destroyed his life and everyone around him.

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New bill would require painkiller training

Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack, R-CA, has introduced legislation aimed at ensuring that powerful prescription painkillers like OxyContin are only prescribed for their intended use – the treatment of severe pain. The Ryan Creedon Act of 2011 would require anyone who prescribes controlled substances to be educated on the risks such drugs pose to patients before they can register with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. DEA registration is already required by federal law.

Unlike President Barack Obama’s recent plan to curb prescription drug abuse – which allows pharmaceutical companies themselves to “educate” doctors on the risks of their products – the bill specifies that this training should be provided by a medical society, a state medical licensing board, an accredited continuing education provider, or “another organization that the Secretary [of Health and Human Services] determines is appropriate for providing such training or certification.”

The bill was named in honor of Ryan Creedon of Palm Desert, Calif., who suffered from a chronic addiction to OxyContin that ultimately resulted in his Feb. 2009 death. Read more about Ryan’s story here.

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Seattle area drug-related deaths now dominated by pills

The majority of drug-related deaths in the Seattle area are now due to prescription medications like OxyContin rather than illicit drugs, according to this article in the Seattle Times. Of the 240 drug-caused deaths in King County last year, 130 involved prescription opiates such as methadone, oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl or morphine, the article says.

Read more about the pill epidemic in Washington state here.

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As N.Y. Oxy addiction grows, so does heroin abuse

In New York’s lower Hudson Valley area, authorities are witnessing an unprecedented number of heroin overdose deaths, fueled by the popularity of painkillers like OxyContin, according to this article on Many of those caught up in the epidemic are young kids under the age of 25, as opposed to “old junkies,” the article says.

Learn more about prescription drug addiction in New York here.

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