As horrifying as the epidemic use of prescription medications are, it looks as if things could be getting worse. In an effort to keep users from becoming abusers, OxyContin manufacturers have reformulated their medication. The result could make things much, much worse.
The OxyContin craze that swept America beginning in the early 2000s appears to be fading, thanks to a reformulation of the pills that deters recreational users from abusing them. The bad news is that almost all illicit users of OxyContin have switched to more potent medications – and to heroin.
I have long-stated that cutting off the supply of illegal drugs, he says, is a worthy goal, but to make a real dent in addiction, a comprehensive approach that addresses demand for drugs is needed.
There always will be a percentage of the population that is going to, that wants to, use and abuse drugs.
To try to eradicate abuse of OxyContin, a prescription painkiller, Purdue Pharma in August 2010 changed the pill's formula. OxyContin contains oxycodone, derived from the opium poppy, and some illicit users had been crushing and snorting pills or dissolving the tablets to inject the drug, which delivers a heroin-like high. The new formulation makes it harder to do that. This as reported in csmonitor.com.
While OxyContin abuse did fall, it appears that instead of ceasing to abuse drugs what they turned to was actually much more potent opioids like oxymorphone, hydromorphone, and fentanyl. A number also switched to heroin, which I think was the most unexpected finding. Twenty percent of users reported that heroin was their drug of choice by March 2012, as opposed to 10 percent in 2009.
However, heroin is the more dangerous drug, because of its varying levels of purity and potential adulterants, experts say. Some reports suggest that it’s also cheaper and more available than it used to be.
Evidence is mounting that some prescription-drug abusers are switching to heroin, which is a complete reversal from the past, when heroin users would switch to pills because they were unable to find heroin.
Prevention and abstinence is the key. Good 15 hour drug classes help educate would-be users about the dangers of these drugs and hopefully keep people from ever trying them.