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OxyContin Epidemic

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For my written assignment I chose to write about drugs, more specifically OxyContin and the ongoing problem of this prescription drug being abused. OxyContin is a drug similar to morphine and is prescribed to people with moderate to severe pain and is also prescribed to cancer patients and the terminally ill. When this drug was first introduced in 1995 it was hailed as a miracle drug. It eases chronic pain because its dissolvable coating allows a measured dose of the oxycodone to be released into the bloodstream a little at a time. But abusers quickly found out that by smashing the pills, they get all of the drug's potency and in one quick rush. This drug is so addictive that it has become an epidemic and has begun a crime wave through many small towns throughout the country particularly in the Appalachian states.

OxyContin, also known as "Hillbilly Heroin," is very addictive drugs that abusers can use in a number of ways by crushing and either snorting or injecting the powder. It is also reported that some users are peeling the extended-released coating off the pill and chewing it. The name Hillbilly Heroin comes from the area where the drug is being used which is mainly in rural areas. The high from OxyContin is as intoxicating as heroin. A lot of the OxyContin that is reaching the streets is from bogus prescriptions or is smuggled in from Canada. According to the Canadian Medical Association Journal there have been at least 100 deaths as a result of an overdose of OxyContin. However most of these deaths came in conjunction with other pain relievers, drugs for anxiety and sleep disorders, marijuana and alcohol. The FDA has now implemented changes to the packaging of OxyContin. The label will now have a "Black Box Warning." The Black Box Warning is the strongest available for any FDA approved drug. This warning cautions that the medicine is addictive and can be deadly if used inappropriately. Physicians are now being instructed to only prescribe the drug to...