Oxycontin-A Wonder Drug?
In 1995, the FDA approved a miracle drug, which would aid in a person's ability to cope with the severe pain associated with cancer. Purdue Pharma L.P. of Stamford, Connecticut, introduced the wonder drug that would eventually be the demise of many. Oxycotin would, for several, lead to addiction, criminal behaviors, and, for some, their lives. The intent of releasing the drug was solely to treat patients suffering from chronic pain. Since the release of the drug, doctors are now prescribing the medicine for moderate pain as well. Patients have become extremely addicted and have gone to extreme lengths to obtain the "poor man's heroin," which may include criminal activities. Recovering addicts endure an extreme withdrawal process, therefore, treatments may include extreme medications such as methadone, yet recurrence is frequent amongst abusers. The lucky ones who have survived kicking the habits created by the wonder drug, and the victims' families of those who have not, are collaborating to change the laws and regulations on such addictive pain relieving medications. "Oxycontin is a semisynthetic opioid analgesic prescribed for chronic or long-lasting pain. The medication's active ingredient is Oxycodone HCl, which is also found in drugs like Percodan and Tylox." (U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources) The main ingredients of oxycontin have similar addiction factors that are equivalent to morphine. Opioid substances "act by attaching to specific proteins called opioid receptors, which are found in the brain, spinal cord, and gastrointestinal tract. When these drugs attach to certain opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord, they can effectively block the transmission of pain messages to the brain." (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) Oxycontin ranges in prescription strengths, between ten mg to one hundred and sixty mg, in a single twelve-hour time released tablet, as compared to Tylox that contains only five mg of Oxycodone per tablet. The advantage of the twelve-hour time released tablets combined with their strength is that chronic pain sufferers need only to take the tablets twice a day. Tylox, along with other similar brands of the lesser strength medication, usually require multiple doses per day. The benefit of such an active dosage and time released formula aids in not only relief, but also in a sufferer's ability to function daily; pain sufferers' function may be limited while taking the remedy. The warning labels of the prescription drug states that one should not: drive, operate heavy machinery or engage in any other dangerous activity. The original intent of Purdue Pharma LP's distribution of the opioid was initially to treat the most severe, continuously affected, pain sufferers with debilitations associated with cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, sickle cell anemia, and chronic back pain. "The makers of Oxycontin along with its campaign to sell its drug to doctors for their chronic pain sufferers by 1991 exceeded one billion dollars in sales. It was now the number one prescribed, name brand, narcotic medication for moderate to severe pain in the United States. When Oxycontin was first approved, the government had categorized the drug as a schedule II controlled substance under the Controlled Substance Act." (U.S. Department of Justice) The government was concerned about the high potential for abuse. They had also stated that the drug might lead to severe psychological and physical dependence. The DEA stated that the active ingredient, Oxycodone, had similar affects to heroin, thus creating the abuse. Abusers have misused the medication to obtain a high from the drug. Most have chewed, snorted, and melted the tablets to be shot up. The rush is quick, yet intense giving the abuser a euphoric high. The abuse of Oxycontin, in many states because of its powerful rush, has exceeded heroin use. "Two primary factors set Oxycontin abuse...
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