OxyContin Abuse & The Opioid Epidemic
When abused, Oxycontin (which comes in a tablet form) is often crushed and snorted, injected intravenously, or smoked. As previously mentioned Oxycontin is extended-release – however, when it is used in any of these methods the effects begin to take place far more quickly. Once the drug hits the brain, neuroreceptors that produce a “euphoria” become engaged leading to an intense high (similar to that produced by heroin). Due to extremely high rates of abuse manufacturers began distributing a tamper-proof version of the pill in 2010. However, to this day Oxycontin is still widely misused.
OxyContin abuse rates remain high because of over-prescription and over-promotion. Many men and women who abuse prescription painkillers like OxyContin initially acquire them from a legitimate prescription from a doctor, or from a friend or relative. They can be easily found in the medicine cabinets of most American residents.
An article published by the US National Library of Medicine explores the relationship between OxyContin and the subsequent opioid epidemic. It states: “An in-depth analysis of the promotion and marketing of OxyContin (Purdue Pharma, Stamford, CT), a sustained-release oxycodone preparation, illustrates some of the key issues. When Purdue Pharma introduced OxyContin in 1996, it was aggressively marketed and highly promoted. Sales grew from $48 million in 1996 to almost $1.1 billion in 2000. The high availability of OxyContin correlated with increased abuse, diversion, and addiction, and by 2004 OxyContin had become a leading drug of abuse in the United States.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that between the years 1999 and 2018 roughly 232,000 men and women lost their lives to prescription opioid overdose. If you or someone you love has been struggling with prescription opioid addiction, there is help available. Reach out to Guardian Recovery Network for more information.