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Keeping An Eye On OxyContin

Archive for the ‘Surveys & Statistics’ Category

Opiate drug use in workplace nearly doubles

Posted by Oxy Watchdog on October 28, 2010

Use of opiate drugs in the workplace, such as OxyContin, has increased by 40 percent from 2005 to 2009 , according to data from Quest Diagnostics, a diagnostic testing company. This article in the New York Times reports that while working while under the influence can pose safety risks, many employees may be taking legal pain medications prescribed by doctors, and impairment can be difficult to prove. Last year alone, the rate of employees testing positive for prescription drugs rose by 18 percent, mirroring similar trends of rising prescription drug use in the U.S. population overall.

Read about prescription drug abuse trends in the U.S. here.

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Posted in Pain Advocates, Surveys & Statistics, Trends | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Small community reacts to prescription drug abuse

Posted by Oxy Watchdog on October 6, 2010

Prescription drug abuse is climbing in the quiet Michigan community of Midland, and local authorities are not pleased. According to this article from Midland Daily News, a new report from 1016 Recovery Network shows the number of people seeking treatment for opiate addiction in the Midland area is higher than the number of people seeking help with alcoholism. The Midland Area Partnership for Drug-Free Youth, partnering with local law enforcement, has put together a television show called “Inside the Medicine Cabinet” to discuss the growing problem, reports this article from ABC News 12. Set to air Wednesday evenings throughout the month of October, the program features a panel of local addiction specialists and law enforcement discussing the trend of prescription drug use among youth.

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Watchdog Reports: Panel says doctors, Internet main instigator of prescription drug abuse

Posted by Oxy Watchdog on September 24, 2010

Two large bottles of liquid oxycondone proved a powerful visual for the practice of over-prescribing pain medication that leads to or aids in prescription drug abuse at Wednesday’s panel presentation discussing the growing national trend, hosted by Chico State University in California.

The three-hour panel presentation was put together by Not in our Town Glenn County, managed by Jim Bettencourt and attend by 60 students, parents and community members. OxyWatchdog contributor Esmeralda F. Ramirez was there to hear what the panel had to say.

According to Bettencourt, the irresponsibility of doctors prescribing an excess of a drug is not uncommon and many physicians do not screen patients to see what is in their bodies. When a patient in pain is asking for a large amount of Vicodin, for example, the physician should ask for a simple urine test to check for existing medication in the patient’s system and prescribe the necessary amount of drugs, he said.

When patients want more than what they are prescribed, it’s a sign that they have become addicted, said Salvadore Biondolillo of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, which is sponsoring this Saturday’s Take-Back Day. A classic example, he said, is a patient that has been taking hydrocodone, then switches to oxycodone, then OxyContin, and finally to heroin because it is much cheaper than prescription drugs.

A dangerous online world

If someone with an addiction cannot get enough of their prescription drug of choice from a physician, they go online, according to Biondolillo. Websites are one of the reasons prescription drug abuse has been increasing in the past few years, he said: there are sites that contain a multitude of information for many kinds of prescription drugs, and it is difficult to monitor all of them. Biondolillo refers to the Internet as “the perfect storm” because prescriptions that come from overseas are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or are often placebos, he said.

Drugs next door

Another way addicts find prescription drugs is through friends, family or street sells, Biondolillo said. When physicians prescribe a excessive amount of drugs, there are bound to be leftovers, said Lee Snook, medical director of the Metropolitan Pain Management Consultants Inc. There are a lot of cases in which the leftovers are divided and sold on the street or are given for free to friends and family as experimentation, he said.

A generation of young addicts

The best place to discuss and educate the community about the rising problem of prescription drug abuse is in colleges throughout the U.S., according to Susan Foster, vice president and director of policy, research and analysis at the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA). College is where young people start to experiment, she said, and prescription drug abuse on many college campuses is rampant.

One interesting sidenote: a study by CASA found that in the early 1990s, those that used prescription drugs to get high were people who had already been using illicit drugs such as cocaine or heroin, Foster said. In the early- to mid-2000s, however, the study showed that prescription drug abuse was coming from high school and college students, she said. They were experimenting with those drugs, replacing marijuana as the experimentation drug historically common among younger generations.

There are different reasons why people begin abusing illicit drugs and other substances, Foster noted. But when it comes to prescription drugs, advertising – to which young people are particularly susceptible – plays a role because it creates a mindset that everything can be cured with a pill.

“We have to change the culture of this disorder,” Foster said.

Pills as life-threatening as guns

Although the choice is always up to the individual, parents play a big role in helping their children stay away from prescription drugs, according to Snook. Prescription drugs are like guns, he said. They both kill, and they both need to be locked away from children and disposed of properly if they are not needed anymore.

Snook, for his part, tries to help people recover because he himself is a former addict and understands the hardships associated with addiction.

“I see Satan’s eyes in the person I’m trying to save,” Snook said.

By Esmeralda F. Ramirez, exclusive to OxyWatchdog

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Ind. opiate abuse increasing faster than national average

Posted by Oxy Watchdog on August 29, 2010

According to figures released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fatal overdoses of opiates – including OxyContin – outnumber those caused by other drugs. In Indiana, the Journal Gazette reports that compared to the national average, the abuse of prescription drugs is climbing higher faster than that of illegal drugs. In 2008, the use of OxyContin alone had increased by a whopping 712 percent in the state. One major cause for the change, according to the paper: unlike “street drugs” such as cocaine and marijuana which are smuggled in from other countries, prescription narcotics are readily available at local pharmacies. The abuse is also being fueled by the perception that because drugs like Oxy are prescription medicines and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, they are safer than illegal drugs, the paper says.

To read about the national trend of increased prescription drug abuse, go 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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Prescription drug overdose main killer of teens

Posted by Oxy Watchdog on August 21, 2010

Once the number one killer of people under the age of 34, car crashes have been replaced by prescription drug abuse as the top cause of death among teens. As reported by the The News-Times, a recent study found the abuse of accessible opiates such as the painkiller oxycodone are luring young people in record numbers. Furthermore, addiction to the pricey narcotic drug leads them to seek out less expensive options such as heroin, with one addiction specialist telling the paper she has sent 30 of her patients under age 22 to in-patient treatment for opiate abuse. All of them, she said, started off using painkillers like Oxy but soon couldn’t afford the $80 per pill and switched to heroin, which costs about $10 a bag.

Posted in Surveys & Statistics, Trends, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Ore. ranks number seven in painkiller, Oxy abuse

Posted by Oxy Watchdog on August 20, 2010

Oregon has the seventh highest rate of painkiller abuse in the U.S., according to this article in The Oregonian. Teens in the state rank number four in prescription drug abuse, such as OxyContin. However, the state is following the example of 38 other states in implementing a prescription drug monitoring program for doctors to track use of certain drugs.

Posted in Surveys & Statistics, Trends | 2 Comments »

Pill-related overdoses skyrocket in Fla.

Posted by Oxy Watchdog on July 8, 2010

Prescription drug-related deaths in Florida spiked by 20 percent in Florida last year over 2008, according to a new report released by the Florida Medical Examiners Commission, the Epoch Times reports. Prescription drugs contributed to more than 8,600 deaths in Florida in 2009, up from 6,200 reported in 2008, the article says. The four leading deadly substances were heroin, methadone, oxycodone, and fentanyl, and the leading cause of death continues to be heroin which contributed to 85% of drug fatalities, according to the article.

Posted in Surveys & Statistics, Trends | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Oxy-to-heroin trend hits Chicago hard

Posted by Oxy Watchdog on June 29, 2010

More people visit hospital emergency rooms in Chicago and its suburbs with problems related to heroin than in any other major metropolitan area in the U.S., a trend that is being driven in part by teens who are hooked on OxyContin, this article reports, citing a recent study by researchers at Roosevelt University’s Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy.

Read the full report here.

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Oxy-related ER visits up 152%

Posted by Oxy Watchdog on June 21, 2010

U.S. emergency department visits for the non-medical use of opioid painkillers increased 111 percent in 2008 compared to 2004, jumping to 306,000 in 2008 from 144,600 in 2004, according to this article. OxyContin was the second-most misused drug, with ER visits related to its abuse increasing 152 percent, the article says.

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