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I'm a little concerned that no one has mentioned how dangerous OxyContin is. (Read The problem with nodes condoning drugs for more info)

U.S. towns, especially in the east, have been deluged with crime, death and pain when OxyContin has hit their streets. From the NDIC:

Several deaths have resulted specifically from the abuse of OxyContin in Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia. The Pike County, Kentucky, Coroner reported 19 OxyContin-related deaths during calendar year 2000. In December 2000, seven OxyContin overdose deaths were reported in Southeastern Kentucky by two Kentucky State Police posts. The Logan Daily News reported in October 2000 that four Hocking County, Ohio, residents overdosed on OxyContin over an 18-day period. Two of the four died. There have been at least four OxyContin overdose deaths in Pulaski, Virginia, since 1998. In July 2000, The Williamson Daily reported five OxyContin-related overdose deaths in southwestern West Virginia since May 2000.
People trying to kick an OxyContin addiction habit experience many of the same withdrawal symptoms as heroin users. Some doctors say that OxyContin is even harder than heroin to kick, because of its time-release function. As one convicted pharmacy robber said from prison, “You feel the same withdrawal symptoms ... the worst flu you ever had. You sweat. You vomit. You can't control your bowels and you shake and you wish you would die. The only relief is more.” Police in cities like Cincinnati have taken to calling OxyContin "the heroin of the Midwest." (Cincinnati Enquirer)

What makes OxyContin a very dangerous drug is its time-release chemistry. In essence, OxyContin is oxycodone bound to a patented chemical which reacts to the level of oxycodone already in the blood. When the level drops, the bonding agent breaks down, permitting more oxycodone to be released. Up to 160 mg can be packed into every pill. However, if addicts crush the pills, then snort them, it circumvents the bonding agent, flooding their systems with a fast, addictive, heroin-like high.

In short, OxyContin is dangerous, dangerous stuff. Percocet, Percodan, and Roxicodone are other variant drugs with the same active ingredient, Oxycodone.

Sources:
http://enquirer.com/editions/2001/02/07/loc_oxycontin_pain_drug.html
http://www.usdoj.gov/ndic/pubs/651/

The reason OxyContin became popular for recreational use is accessibility. As HongPong hinted at in his writeup, OxyContin first registered as a serious problem in places like eastern Kentucky, West Virginia and southwestern Virginia. OxyContin users, as opposed to users of other illicit drugs, did not have to access underground supply chains (in the case of imported drugs) or grow it (marijuana -- this is also a prime marijuana-growing region of the US). They could either steal it from the local pharmacy or simply get a complicit doctor to prescribe it unnecessarily.

Combine this accessibility with the sad economic shape of the Appalachian region, and you had the rise of a new drug, which first became known widely as "the hillbilly heroin." It did not take much money or effort to get into this habit, and, as other WUs have mentioned, it's incredibly difficult to break.

OxyContin

Brand name of oxycodone HCl

Indications

management of moderate to severe pain when continuous analgesia is necessary for an extended period of time
Dosage for adults
10 mg to 160 mg twice daily (depending on tolerance)
Dosage for children
not approved for use in children
How supplied
extended-release tablets, 10 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg, 80 mg, 160 mg
Additional Information
WARNING:
OxyContin is an opioid agonist (narcotic) and a Schedule II controlled substance with an abuse liability similar to morphine. OxyContin tablets are NOT intended for use as a prn analgesic. OxyContin tablets are to be swallowed whole and are not to be broken, chewed or crushed. Taking broken, chewed or crushed OxyContin tablets leads to rapid release and absorption of a potentially fatal dose of oxycodone.
This warning taken verbatim from Purdue Pharma’s literature about OxyContin
Date of most recent Update
September 10, 2002
Further information is available in the writeup for the generic name(s) of this medication

OK, I'll take the time. Many of you have mentioned in private messages that you liked my writeup in the Vicodin node. Turns out that the shit really hit the fan after I recently had a baby. My back pain got worse after I gave birth and round about February, my doctor put me on Oxycontin with Percoset for breakthrough pain. She started me out at 40mgs a day. Four months later I was a straight up junkie taking 400mgs a day, saving my Percoset until I ran out of Oxycontin, then binging on Percoset until I could get my Oxycontin again. 400mgs A DAY, and my doctor had no problem continuing to prescribe it, claiming that it was very common to build up a quick tolerance.

I was falling asleep at work, having nightmares, talking in my sleep, murdering my liver and being a terrible mother to my beautiful, beautiful miracle of a daughter. She is the reason I stopped.

I quit taking Oxycontin cold turkey. From 400mgs to zero in one day. The withdrawal is the closest to hell I hope I'll ever be. Uncontrollable shaking, weeping, vomiting, cold sweats, immeasurable pain in every cell as my body tried to make me take more narcotics. The doctor told me I could have had a heart attack or a stroke from quitting cold turkey and that it was very dangerous. I had to take medical leave from work for a week, take Valium just to sleep through the night, take Clonidine to keep my heart working correctly and muscle relaxants to keep my muscles from twitching so hard that I once fell off the couch as I slept. I finally felt halfway normal about ten days after stopping.

I don't regret it for a minute. Do I miss the feeling of euphoria? Definitely. But I guess I'm not meant to feel that way unless it can be achieved naturally.

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