OxyContin

Street Names:

"Oxy," "OC," "hillbilly heroin"

"Richard Paolino, once considered the area's top illicit supplier of the narcotic painkiller OxyContin, has been jailed since his arrest in March 2001. The former Bensalem doctor is set to be sentenced today, and he could spend the rest of his live behind bars."Philadelphia Inquirer, June 20, 2002

Chemical Composition:

OxyContin® is a prescription time-release, 12 hour, formulation of oxycodone hydrochloride, oxycodone is used in other drugs. It is prescribed for pain management. OxyContin® is a synthetic opiate similar to morphine that is manufactured by Purdue Pharma Inc.

It is a Schedule II in the Controlled Substances Act, which is defined as having a high potential for abuse, having a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the U.S. or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions and may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.

 

Characteristics:

OxyContin® is a tablet that is used by abusers to get a heroin-like high.

The increase in illegal use of OxyContin® has lead to an increased number of pharmacy robberies and health care fraud cases.

OxyContin® is a central nervous system depressant. It can produce analgesia, insensitivity to pain, respiratory depression and euphoria.

Methods of Use:

Abusers of OxyContin® "short circuit" the time delay feature by chewing, crushing or dissolving the tablets. The drug is chewed or snorted, or, because it is water soluble, it can be dissolved in water and injected. It is often used with other drugs such as marijuana or alcohol.

"Relatively few deaths result from oxycodone abuse alone, local statistics show. More often it is found commingled with alcohol or other drugs in an overdose victim's body"Philadelphia Inquirer, June 20, 2002

Risks:

OxyContin® is addictive. Prolonged use changes the brain's normal pleasure and motivational systems, making use of the drug the highest priority disregarding all other motivations and drives.

OxyContin® can cause death.

"OxyContin is especially prized by abusers for its heroin-like euphoria. The pills contain large doses of pure oxycodone, but with a time-release coating for meting out 12-hour pain relief. Abusers break the coating to get the hit of a full dose at once, sometimes with fatal results."Philadelphia Inquirer, June 20, 2002

 

Sources:

OxyConton
Drug Facts
Executive Office of the President
Office of National Drug Control Policy
Washington, D.C.
www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov

OxyContin Diversion and Abuse
Drug Enforcement Administration
U.S. Department of Justice
www.dea.gov

Hearing before the Health, Education, Labor,
And Pensions Committee U.S. Senate
"OxyContin: Balancing Risks and Benefits"
National Institute on Drug Abuse
National Institutes of Health
www.drugabuse.gov

OxyContin
"Dear Healthcare Professional Letter" 7/26/2001
Federal Food and Drug Administration
www.fda.gov