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Keeping An Eye On OxyContin

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Posts Tagged ‘Crime’

Fla. police, pharmacists align to curb drug abuse in state

Posted by Oxy Watchdog on October 25, 2010

In an effort to decrease the growing prescription drug abuse problem in Florida, county sheriff departments have reached out to pharmacists with positive results, reports this article in the Chipley Paper. After one sheriff wrote a letter last year, other departments have used it as a template requesting pharmacists to use extra precaution when filling prescriptions for highly abused painkillers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone and other narcotics. In response, some pharmacies have adopted a blanket policy in which they will not fill a prescription from out of town, while others will call the physician to verify the legitimacy of the prescription. According to the article, oxycodone was responsible for 1,948 Florida deaths in 2009 and the state has faced a number of issues with its prescription monitoring program and with doctors’ fraudulent prescribing practices.

To read about prescription drug abuse in Florida, go here.


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States move closer to sharing prescription databases, curbing doctor shopping

Posted by Oxy Watchdog on October 19, 2010

Beginning next year, states in the U.S. will edge closer to unifying their prescription drug monitoring programs to share information and potentially cut down on doctor shopping, reports this article from CBS Business News. Though interstate prescription database sharing has been discussed for some years, the inconsistencies among each state’s program make unifying the system challenging, according to this report from the Council of State Governments. Because prescriptions drugs are the second-most abused drugs in the nation behind marijuana, nearly every state now has an existing or pending monitoring program aimed at curbing the epidemic.

Read about the Congressional caucus that examined interstate drug abuse here.

Posted in Policy & Regulation, Trends | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

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.

Posted in Crime, Trends | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

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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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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Oxy thief ends own life

Posted by Oxy Watchdog on August 5, 2010

OxyWatchdog usually posts crime-related stories under Oxy Crime Watch, but this story of a man who stole OxyContin from a Rite Aid pharmacy in Spokane, Wash. and then shot himself as he was being pursued by police highlights the desperation the painkiller creates in addicts.

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Oxy thieves assault Winnipeg pharmacies

Posted by Oxy Watchdog on June 23, 2010

Pharmacy heists by thieves desperate for OxyContin have become so widespread in Winnpeg, Canada that one pharmacy has posted a neon sign over its door stating “no OxyContin on the premises” to deter the rising violence, the Winnipeg Free Press reports. The articles calls for the government to beef up drug treatment programs, saying their lack is making those addicted to Oxy and other street drugs more desperate.

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MD on the hook for 68 pill overdose deaths

Posted by Oxy Watchdog on June 15, 2010

A federal jury is set to decide the fate of a Kansas doctor charged with running a pain clinic that essentially functioned as a “pill mill,” leading to the overdose deaths of nearly 70 patients from medicines such as OxyContin. Many of Dr. Stephen Schneider’s patients failed drug screening tests, required increased dosages of medication, and suffered non-fatal overdoses before finally dying, many within days of their last visit to the clinic, AFP reports.

Read federal prosecutors’ trial brief regarding Schneider’s criminal liability here.

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Black-tar heroin steps in for Oxy: LA Times

Posted by Oxy Watchdog on March 25, 2010

The Los Angeles Times has a phenomenal three-part series called “Heroin Road” that investigates how sugar-cane farm workers, illegal immigrants from Xalisco, Mexico, have spread black-tar heroin to some 14 states across the U.S. It also explores the rise black-tar heroin use in communities where prescription pain pill abuse is high. The first installment reports that dealers have been especially successful in parts of Appalachia and the Rust Belt with high rates of addiction to OxyContin, because they market their heroin as a cheap, potent alternative. In areas where this form of heroin – called black-tar because it’s sticky and dark – has become more popular, deaths from heroin overdoses have also increased, the article says.

The second installment notes that OxyContin pills cost $80 apiece and addicts often need five or six a day, while black-tar heroin is stronger and costs less than $50 for a day’s fix.

The third installment details how the black-tar heroin trade has pulled poor Mexican drug dealers out of poverty, even as it has ruined lives in the U.S. “By addicting the children of others, they could support their own,” the article says of the dealers.

There’s also an audio slide show interviewing two black-tar heroin addicts.

Also interesting are the comments from readers, some of whom apparently felt the author was providing a road map for how to get high.

Posted in Crime, Trends | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

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