Monthly Archives: June 2011

Fueled by Oxy, Wisc. sees rise in heroin

Police in northeast Wisconsin say they are seeing a dramatic increase in heroin use in wake of the new, supposedly harder-to-abuse version of OxyContin, WBAY.com reports. Authorities in the four-county Lake Winnebago area confiscated 15 to 20 grams of heroin between 2000 and 2009, but found 120 grams in 2010, the article says.

The news comes after the University of Wisconsin’s Pain and Policy Group attracted criticism earlier this year for allegedly receiving millions of dollars from pharmaceutical companies, including Oxy manufacturer Purdue Pharma, for pushing for the de-regulation of narcotic pain medicine, which you can read more about here.

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Black market numbers crunch

Pharmaceutical companies aren’t the only ones reaping the benefits of America’s obsession with prescription drugs. The black market for pills is a multi-billion-dollar industry, CNN.com reports. Oxycontin, for example, costs about $6 when sold legally, but garners up to $80 per pill on the street – about $1 a milligram, the news outlet says.

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Watch it: Dr. Oz show on prescription drug abuse

Dr. Oz just did a show on prescription drug abuse, with one expert guest calling the pill epidemic “a tsunami.” Careless and overly broad prescribing practices, doctor shopping, and pill mills are discussed. Check it out online in three segments:

View Part 1 here.
View Part 2 here.
View Part 3 here.

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Unwilling addicts: how Big Pharma is fueling pill addiction

For many Americans, addiction to prescription drugs like OxyContin starts at the advice of a doctor and builds slowly over time. This week, CNN’s In Depth series is focusing on prescription drugs in the United States and the politics behind the pharmaceutical industry. Some highlights:

  • The pharmaceutical industry is providing almost all the scientific information on prescription drugs to doctors and their patients, fueling reliance on pills instead of looking at the “whole picture” of health, says John Abramson, author of “Overdosed America.”
  • Here, one woman discusses how she developed a slew of health problems after being prescribed a multitude of pills from different doctors, finally ending up spending $900 a month on her prescriptions.
  • 75 percent of Americans misuse their prescriptions, and in 2008 spent more than $934 billion on prescription drugs, according to CNN.
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