orangemanOxy Watchdog keeps an eye on prescription drug and heroin addiction, which has become a national epidemic. Prescription drug-related deaths now outpace those caused by car crashes, killing nearly 40 Americans per day.

This blog got its name from OxyContin, but it also monitors developments about many other prescription drugs that are contributing to the painkiller abuse epidemic, which has fueled a parallel rise in heroin addiction. When I started the blog in October 2009, OxyContin was one of the most popularly abused prescription painkillers. In August 2010, Oxy was reformulated to make it more difficult to abuse, but other opioids such as fentanyl and hydromorphone have moved in to fill the gap. Heroin is almost molecularly identical to prescription painkillers, and many painkiller addicts are turning to the hardcore street drug as pills become too expensive or scarce. In fact, heroin use in the U.S. has doubled since 2007.

Drug overdose deaths increased for the eleventh consecutive year in 2010, and most of those deaths were accidents involving addictive painkillers. In 2010, there were 38,329 drug overdose deaths nationwide, and medicines – mostly prescription drugs – were involved in nearly 60 percent of overdose deaths, surpassing deaths from illicit narcotics. Opioid drugs such as OxyContin and Vicodin were the biggest problem, contributing to three out of four medication overdose deaths.

In 2011, almost 80 percent of people who had used heroin in the previous year also had a history of abusing prescription painkillers.

Learn more about me here, or watch my video trailer on Oxy Watchdog:

Find out more about how painkillers and heroin are affecting today’s youth in my book, Generation Rx: A Story of Dope, Death, and America’s Opiate Crisis.

10 Responses to About

  1. Audrey says:

    Excellent blog Erin. Great content and resources. Your post today is just unbelievable and must be extremely frustrating, but I suppose is just more fuel for the fire.

  2. Erin I am so proud of you this site is fantastic. Looking forward to some day seeing you again.

  3. Lorna Efford says:


    I lost my son in 2006 from OxyContin overdose. He was 19 yrs. old at the time. Because I had no idea about this drug nor I ever heard about it and always made sure my children are always educated well about drugs, I used to make sure my son was reminded to not use drugs. This is all I would tell along with the danger of underage drinking. The feeling of devastation of losing my son to something I believe could’ve been prevented if ony he knew about the dangers. He never was involved in using illicit pills, but I learned he did used Rx pills with friends, but his death was caused by opiods only which he took one 80mg and half of another 80mg…crushed and snorted and his organs shut down and killed him on February 27, 2006.

    I give you lots of credits for sharing your story about your brother (bless his soul) and very proud of you for doing something to get the word out because many parents had no idea about this Rx pill and its popularity of being used as part of a party drug. I, myself have done in my power to spread the dangers of OxyContin. I started Legal but Deadly–Legal Drugs are just as Deadly as Illegal Drugs and have been speaking publicly about my tragedgy and educate students, parents, and public about the dangers of Rx abuse.


    • Erin Marie Daly says:

      Lorna, thanks so much for your kind words and for sharing your story. I am so sorry for the loss of your son. I really believe that talking about this epidemic, educating parents and kids alike, is the only way forward. As you know it’s sometimes difficult to do this, so I applaud you for your efforts as well.

    • kelly says:

      could have been my son…… this is kelly

  4. Lorna Efford says:

    Thank you Erin.

  5. Ryan says:

    Although prescription drugs do pose their own dangers i believe that the reverse psychology of telling kids, no you cant do this or cant do that only leads kids to the curiosity of what any ‘illegal’ or ‘legal’ drug may do. Educating parents and children alike is not a bad thing however the ‘no’ factor will always leave kids wondering.

    Its quite an easy concept to watch for yourselves. Make/buy something you know your kid might like say cookies for example, tell them they cant have any of them at all and let them sit in an obvious spot and make sure no one else in the house will touch them. Unless you have the best dang disciplined children in the world they will eventually crack and try or take one. Now obviously i am not comparing cookies to drugs/alcohol/tobacco, but the principal remains.

    I believe that the illegality (no factor) is just as dangerous as not knowing. Education and responsibility as well as honesty; this is how you avoid future problems and or accidents.

    When its all said and done, overpolicing of these things only hurts real people, not addicts and junkies.

  6. Bradford Noll, MD says:

    I am sorry for your loss. The CDC has described the death due to Doctor prescribed opioids as an epidemic, killing 16,007 Americans in 2012. In 1973, cigarette companies had advertisements on the evening news and news magazines. No major reports were given about the danger of cigarettes on those news media until the ads were withdrawn. The drug companies now underwrite the news organizations. If you need information on the technical aspects opioid death contact me.

  7. Rachel Bruzee says:

    What an amazing job here and clearly shows you put your heart and soul into this. Thank you for sharing and continuing to bring awareness to our communities.

  8. Eli Raine says:


    I have chronic pain. I am prescribed an appropriate amount of opiod medications per month which, in spite of tolerance, physical dependence and copious side effects STILL manage to help me greatly.
    When I read news articles or op-ed pieces regarding opiod prescribing (including pain pumps i.e., implantable) I cannot help but to feel incredibly frustrated.

    There ARE non-cancer pain patients who do well with opiod therapies. I know this because I am such a patient.

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