Oxy Watchdog

Keeping An Eye On OxyContin

Archive for the ‘Crime’ Category

Heroin use increases in Utah, abusers younger than ever

Posted by Oxy Watchdog on October 21, 2010

As abuse of heroin in Utah climbs upward, authorities are finding the age of users is going down, sometimes as young as 13 or 14 years old, reports this article on ksl.com. Though OxyContin and marijuana tend to be more popular among youths, the costly price drives them to a less expensive alternative. The fact that the dealers have become extremely sophisticated – often making heroin easier to obtain than cigarettes or alcohol for teens – makes the problem more prevalent. Though the cost of heroin is cheaper for users in the Salt Lake City area, the average age of whom is 16 to 23, the cost can be far more deadly since the drug is now 60 percent pure, whereas in the 1970s it was only three percent pure.

Read about the Oxy-to-heroin trend among teens here.

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Percocet abuse threatens OxyContin’s hold on teen users

Posted by Oxy Watchdog on October 10, 2010

Though prescription drug abuse has skyrocketed in the past ten years with the painkiller OxyContin as the main drug of choice, teen users may now be switching to a similar prescription opiate, Percocet. According to this article in Wicked Local Bridgewater, Massachusetts police report an increase in Percocet-related crime in the past few months. Possible reasons for the switch include a lower price-tag – Percocet sells for $30 per tablet as compared to the $80 price tag on OxyContin – as well as more availability in the wake of the state’s crackdown on OxyContin. Like Oxy, Percocet contains oxycodone, is a Schedule II narcotic, and is a highly addictive “gateway” drug which may lead to stronger street drugs such as heroin.

Read more about Massachusetts’ battle with Oxy here.

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Fla. doctors find few repercussions in fraudulent prescribing practices

Posted by Oxy Watchdog on October 3, 2010

More than a fourth of doctors in Florida found to have illegally prescribed medication are still practicing and prescribing without repercussions, reports this investigation by the St. Petersburg Times. The in-depth investigation found that the system for identifying and disciplining the doctors is slow and ineffective, doing little to curb a prescription drug abuse epidemic that kills seven Floridians per day. Though some of the doctors prescribed the drugs for illicit reasons, most were certified professionals taking advantage of the lucrative dealing. Whats more, the state’s prescription drug monitoring program that went into effect Oct. 1 leaves loopholes that do not address the trend.

Read about Florida’s prescription drug monitoring program here.
Information on pill-related overdoes in Florida can be found here.

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Man steals baby food to support heroin addiction

Posted by Oxy Watchdog on September 19, 2010

A trend among abusers of the painkiller OxyContin is to switch to heroin, which costs less and is often easier to obtain – a trend exemplified by Sean Roderick of Massachusetts. Roderick, 30, recently pleaded guilty to stealing baby formula from a supermarket with the intention to resell it in order to support his heroin addiction, reports this article on Seacoastonline.com. Though Roderick told the judge he is committed to beating an addiction stemming from the OxyContin he was prescribed for knee surgery, the judge holds little hope.

“From this court’s experience, we’re going to see Mr. Roderick back again,” said the judge, according to the article. “It happens in every heroin case.”

To read more about the Oxy-to-heroin trend, go here.

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Doctor fraudulently prescribes painkillers to homeless

Posted by Oxy Watchdog on September 15, 2010

Zhiwei Lin, a California neurologist, was arrested earlier this month for writing prescriptions for Vicodin to those who did not need it. Like OxyContin, Vicodin is a powerful, Schedule II opiate prone to abuse. According to this article in the Los Angeles Times, the homeless “patients” were paid by drug dealers to obtain prescriptions from Lin. The dealers would then sell the painkillers at an increased price. Lin’s ability to prescribe drugs prone to abuse, and even his license, may now be in jeopardy.  The arrest follows the case of another California doctor, Lisa Tseng, who has been linked to six overdose deaths from prescriptions she wrote.

Read about the arrest of Lisa Tseng here.

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Pharmacy robberies increase, painkillers main target

Posted by Oxy Watchdog on September 9, 2010

Though the state of California fills an estimated 34 million prescriptions annually, in the U.S. nearly 25 million doses are stolen each year, primarily painkillers such as OxyContin and Vicodin, according to this report from NBC Los Angeles. In reaction to the increase in robberies, some pharmacies across the nation no longer carry OxyContin and other addictive drugs, reports WMBF News.

For a weekly report on Oxy-related crime, check Oxy Crime Watch.

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Oxy prescription forgeries increase in California

Posted by Oxy Watchdog on September 2, 2010

As Oxy abuse in Redding, Calif. mirrors the national trend and increases, so do the number of fake prescriptions, reports KRCTV. According to Redding Police Sgt. Bruce Bonner, though he once only encountered one or two forged prescriptions a month, he now comes across two or three per week. However, local pharmacists say since doctors now take extra precautions with narcotic painkillers, dealers are more likely to obtain real prescriptions rather than forgeries.

Read about a California doctor over-prescribing painkillers here.

To read more about the national trend in Oxy abuse, go here.

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Calif. doctor linked to six-plus deaths involving OxyContin

Posted by Oxy Watchdog on August 30, 2010

State officials in California are pressing to revoke the license of a doctor linked to several fatalities due to overdoses of prescription narcotics including OxyContin, hydrocodone and Xanax. An article in The Los Angeles Times reports that at least six men have died of overdoses after visiting general practitioner Lisa Tseng, some of whom were known addicts. According to the Associated Press, in addition to misconduct charges from the Osteopathic Medical Board of California, Tseng faces an investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration into her prescribing practices.

Read the DEA’s press release on the issue here.

*Update: Tseng is now claiming that the responsibility for any misuse of the drugs belongs to the users, despite allegations by DEA officials that she routinely prescribed Oxy and other powerful painkillers without properly assessing patients’ medical needs – or their apparent addictions, the LA Times reports.

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Oxy-to-heroin abuse more prevalent small towns

Posted by Oxy Watchdog on August 27, 2010

An upswing in the use of heroin in small towns can be linked to the growing abuse of prescription drugs such as OxyContin, and the high price associated with them, reports HeraldNet. Also an opiate, heroin is often used as a substitute drug for Oxy abusers, as it costs significantly less and can be easier to obtain. As an example, NWCN News reported drastic growth in drug-related crimes in the small town of Snomish, Wash., including a pharmacy being robbed of $50,000 worth of OxyContin.

Read about the 400% nationwide increase in prescription pill abuse here.

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Staten Island issues most Oxy prescriptions in NYC

Posted by Oxy Watchdog on August 22, 2010

Amidst a trend of Oxy- and painkiller-related crimes, Staten Island doctors write the most prescriptions for oxycodone in the city of New York and the second most in the entire state. According to this article in the Staten Island Real-Time News, that’s one prescription for every four to five people living in the city, nearly 2,200 filled per week.

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