Oxymorphone, known most commonly as Opana, is a powerful painkiller of the opioid variety that is available in extended-release and instant-release form. Opana is a Schedule II drug in the United States, meaning it has approved medicinal qualities but also has a high potential for abuse. Opana is a very long lasting drug, which is another reason why people are choosing to abuse it instead of other prescription painkillers.
Opana, when injected by its abusers, can be responsible for causing a fatal blood disorder called thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. This disorder, which may result in kidney failure and death, imposes a limit on blood flow to organs by forming clots that form in small blood vessels. However, kidney failure is not the only risk that is carried with this disorder. The disorder also causes a person to be at a higher risk for getting a stroke or brain damage.
As the popularity of prescription painkiller abuse has risen, more people now die from prescription drug abuse than from heroin and cocaine combined. The recent rise in popularity of Opana specifically is due to OxyContin being changed in 2010. The drug OxyContin, which was heavily preferred by people who abuse prescription painkillers, now has a different chemical composition which makes it difficult for the user to snort or inject the drug to achieve a high similar to heroin.
Opana is more potent per milligram than OxyContin, which increases the chance of a user overdosing due to not knowing the specifics about the dosage of the drug. The drug is available in 5 milligram and 10 milligram dosages for its instant-release version, while its extended-release version is available in 5, 10, 20, 30, and 40 milligram variations.
Abusers of Opana are willing to take drastic measures to achieve their drug, even if it means
robbing a pharmacy. In Fort Wayne, Indiana, a man recent threatened a pharmacy worker with death if he didn’t hand over Opana. The man was apprehended shortly after leaving the store. This incident and others show that those addicted to Opana and other prescription painkillers can be just as dangerous as those addicted to more common street drugs, and the rise of prescription drug abuse is posing new challenges to law enforcement and to society in general.