Our team of addiction reporters has long been critical of OxyContin, which is an incredibly powerful opiate painkiller created by Purdue Pharma and released in 1996. The active ingredient in OxyContin is oxycodone.
OxyContin has been a lightning rod for controversy surrounding the prescription drug epidemic, and rightly so. OxyContin is the strongest and most addictive of the class of narcotic painkillers (which includes Percocet, Vicodin, Lortab, and Norco). Purdue Pharma has received so much criticism for the drug’s potential for addiction and overdose that it released a new formula of “sticky” or “tamper proof” OxyContin in April of 2010.
In October 2011 Purdue Pharma announced that OxyContin will be phased out in favor of OxyNEO beginning January 2012. OxyNEO is intended to further reduce the potential for abuse of the drug. Some of the features include:
– the drug is sticky and difficult to chew (in order to release the effects of the drug at once)
– the drug is also difficult or impossible to crush up into a powder (to inhale nasally or “snort” – also to release the drug powerfully throught hte nasal membranes)
– the drug will not properly dissolve into a liquid form if heated in water or alcohol (which prevents it’s ability to be sucked up into a syringe in order to be intravenously injected)
The Bottom Line About What This Will do for Opiate Addiction Epidemic
We appreciate the steps taken by Purdue Pharma to make their drug more difficult to abuse. We feel that it will probably prevent some overdoses and will possibly curb this newest version of oxycodone’s ability to give someone an overwhelming (and immediately addictive) high.
But the problem of prescription drug addiction in our society is the ‘elephant standing in the room’ that still hasn’t been acknowledged. This is where our website will be a tool to bring awareness and hopefully possible solutions.
The Dangers of OxyNEO and Getting Help
High risk for overdose: OxyNEO is a respiratory depressant, meaning it causes the brain to slow down the entire central nervous system. This can lead to possible hypoventilation, or respiratory depression, which prevents the brain from getting adequate oxygen.
This can be fatal or cause permanent brain damage. The results of this type of overdose can run the gamut of permanent coma to turning the user into a living “vegetable” where the body is alive and awake but the brain is damaged to the point where the person is unable to understand or relate to anything. Then there are infinite degrees of brain damage from permanent speech disability to permanently living life in a wheelchair (even though the brain is still fully functioning).
If you or someone you care about is slipping into an addiction to opiate drug addiction, we strongly urge you to get help immediately. Opiate drug use above all others warrants an extremely vigilant and proactive intervention because of the drastic potential consequences.
For more information about why opiate related drugs require such decisive and timely action read the article about “the bad news” about prescription drug abuse.