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.
New Formula Could Cause Problems
A new formula of Oxycontin called Oxyneo will take will takes its place in Canada as of November 25 and this has some health officials worried. This is because along with the new tamper-resistant drug will come flood cheap generic versions which will most likely be the ones sold on the street to drug addicts.
These generic versions will most likely not be as tamper-proof as Oxyneo and users will find a way to ingest it anyway, creating a bigger drug problem than the one Canada has presently. In response to this, Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews is attempting to reverse her colleagues 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.
What Can Be Done To Stop Oxycontin Abuse
Health Canada is 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. In the United States, a similar scenario is taking place.
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 should put attention on patients that are at risk for painkiller dosage, the amount of prescriptions and the amount of prescribers. They should also focus on prescribers who obviously stray from appropriate dosages as well as the number of prescriptions they hold for controlled substances.
States should create and enforce laws in order to prevent “doctor shopping” and the operation of “pill mills”. 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 and probably most importantly, people should take the time to educate themselves and their loved ones about the dangers of abusing prescription painkillers as well as other drugs. Studies have been done that indicate that kids that receive drug education in the home from parents are 40% less likely to use drugs. In addition to this drug education and prevention should be done regularly in the school setting.
One reason for this is because a high percentage of kids [17%] have taken part in school day drug use and nearly 50% of kids actually know where they can get drugs in school.
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