Oxy 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.