Changes being made to some of the commonly abused prescription painkillers have several Kentucky health officials worried. This is because along with the expirations of the patents for Oxycontin and Opana, will come a flood of cheap generic versions which will most likely be the ones sold on the street to drug addicts.
These generic versions will probably not be as tamper-proof as others and users will find a way to ingest them, creating a bigger drug problem than the one America has presently.
Oxycontin, the brand name of Oxycodone, is a powerful and extremely addictive prescription painkiller. It is much stronger than many other forms of painkillers and comes in a time-released pill form. Abusers usually crush the pill, which nullifies the time-release coating and allows the user to feel the full effects of the drug. They then snort or inject it.
Oxycontin is considered the most commonly abused drug among the 2.4 million Americans that abused prescription drugs in 2004. In fact, recent Oxycontin statistics show that more first-time abusers used this drug over marijuana and cocaine. Studies show that Oxycontin is among the two drugs that are most likely to blame for the surge in the abuse of prescription painkillers, the other being Vicodin.
Stopping Prescription Drug Addiction
Many agree that programs such as Medicaid should think about monitoring prescription claims information as well as Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs data for warning signs of misuse of prescription drugs. These monitoring programs would put attention on patients that are at risk for painkiller dosage, the amount of prescriptions and the amount of prescribers. They would also focus on prescribers who obviously stray from appropriate dosages as well as the number of prescriptions they hold for controlled substances.
One health official in Canada is attempting to reverse the decision to allow the generic oxycodone to be sold on the market with the expiration of Oxycontin but so far she has had no luck. Others argue that it is not fair to legitimate users of these drugs in order to manage pain just because others choose to abuse it. Canada is also putting in tough new conditions for manufacturers as well as distributors that will require them to report any steep rises in sales or changes in distribution patterns. In addition, licenses could be taken away or suspended if any evidence of abuse or diversion is found.
This is an ideal solution and hopefully will be done in the United States as well. We should create and enforce laws in order to prevent “doctor shopping” and the operation of “pill mills” and there should also be more effective and accessible substance abuse treatment programs to provide abusers with the help they need in order to get off of the drugs that they are dependant upon. Lastly, people should take the time to educate themselves and their loved ones about the dangers of abusing prescription painkillers as well as other drugs.
Education on prescriptions can happen with parents who simply speak to their kids about the dangers of prescription addiction. This can be followed up with by drug prevention in the schools. Workplaces can also educate employees on this growing problem.
Lastly know and understand the symptoms of prescription addiction. Get help for anyone in need through drug rehabilitation. Contact Narconon for more information on enrollment.