The good, the bad and the ugly. Truths about OxyContin
OxyContin was hailed as a wonder drug it was unveiled in 1996 by manufacturer Purdue Pharma, and it has quickly become one of the best-selling — and addictive — prescription drugs in modern times. Derived from the opioid oxycodone hydrochloride, OxyContin was hailed as a breakthrough in pain management because it slowly delivered relief, but its time-release safeguards were easily manipulated by abusers and it fueled an epidemic in painkiller abuse.
OxyContin came onto the market as Baby Boomers approached late middle-age and pain management was getting more attention from the medical industry. Used for moderate to severe pain that lasts around the clock, it quickly became the go-to prescription drug for cancer patients and those recovering from injuries or surgery. Its advantage: 12-hour doses that gradually treated pain, rather than other medications that needed to be taken every three to six hours. Taken orally or intravenously, it works by changing the way the brain and nervous system respond to pain. Short-term side effects include constipation, nausea, sedation, dizziness, vomiting, headache, dry mouth, sweating, mood changes, loss of appetite, weakness and slowed breathing.
The principal ingredient in OxyContin — oxycodone — had been around for generations, first coming to the United States in 1939. Purdue Pharma’s genius was marketing. It hyped OxyContin on all manner of apparel — from beach hats to pedometers — and rolled out an aggressive campaign to “educate” the medical community about pain, going so far as to tout it as the fifth vital sign. More controversially, the corporation billed OxyContin as less addictive than other prescription painkillers. In fact, long-term use only increases tolerance, making users need more and more pills to get the same relief. Withdrawal is not unlike that of heroin and includes anxiety, nausea and flu-like symptoms. The contradiction of marketing a highly addictive drug as safe has prompted numerous lawsuits and state actions, forcing Purdue Pharma to pay $600 million in 2007 for misleading the public about the drug’s risk of addiction. The fine stands as one of the largest pharmaceutical settlements in U.S. history.
OxyContin is not safe, it’s dangerous and fueled one of the biggest public health and public safety crises in the past 20 years. Its formula was incredibly easy to manipulate. Abusers needed only to crush, melt or inject the pills to experience heroin-like euphoria. Sold for $80 a pill on the black market as “Hillbilly Heroin” or “OC,” the drug decimated communities and led to crime waves in Florida, Appalachia and the South. It is now is widely misused throughout the nation. Driven largely by OxyContin, prescription painkiller overdoses have increased 11 consecutive years and some 16,000 people now die every year from them. That’s more than those who die from gunfire. Purdue Pharma in 2012 reformulated the drug, making it gummy when crushed. The changes, though, are too late for millions who began using a drug they believed was perfectly safe but have since acquired an addiction that only professional treatment can cure.
The way out
Clarity Intensive Outpatient Opiate Treatment (IOOT™) offers a confidential, fast and painless way to get – and stay – clean. Clarity is the only OxyContin detox program that combines patented, effective process with safe, FDA approved medications. Its success rate is five times higher than traditional detox. OxyContin addictions are treated in three days by Clarity, not months.
Talk to a certified addiction specialist NOW. Call 855-346-9388. We can help you every step of the way, but the first step has to start with you. Get Clarity.