“Prescription drug abuse has reached epidemic levels, with more than 7 million people using prescription drugs for non-medical reasons every month,”this is the statement of Timothy J. Landrum, special agent in charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Why has this become such a problem? The poster child for this phenomenon is OxyContin. OxyContin is a medication prescribed for the relief of moderate to severe (and chronic pain), but pharmacologically shockingly similar to heroin. It is no wonder it’s so appealing to drug abusers, especially since can be obtained by prescription and can be covered by insurance.
Authorities are becoming increasingly alarmed by the huge number of people abusing and getting addicted to prescription drugs. In just the first week of October, ten people, including two doctors, were arrested in a Los Angeles OxyContin case. “[They were] drug dealers who were abusing their authority in the medical community to profit from those vulnerable to these drugs,” Timothy J. Landrum said. But this case is an indicator of the lengths people will go to obtain and sell these drugs. The people who were arrested were operating under stolen identities, getting prescriptions for OxyContin and then reselling it on the streets. While the insurance companies were paying for the medicine, the dealers made about $25 million profit, selling nearly 1 million pills from about $23 to $27 per pill. In the pharmacies, a tablet of 80 milligram strength OxyContin is $6 and the 160 milligram pills have been withdrawn from the market for unlimited period of time.
OxyContin – Addictive Drug of Choice
OxyContin is the prescription drug of choice in the United States, especially in states like Maine, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Maryland and Pennsylvania. “OxyContin i
s sweeping the U.S. as part of a prescription drug abuse epidemic, and California Oxycontin addiction is following that trend for certain,” said Suzi Rupp, spokeswoman for the state Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs. The number of people whom have checked into treatment centers, has doubled in the last five years.
Naturally, “Big Pharma” is moving slowly to deal with the issue. Purdue Pharma, the producer of OxyContin announced that they will discontinue it and replace it with another drug called OxyNEO – which is basically just a rebranding and not really dealing with the issue.