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Oxycontin, the runaway train
- Introduced in 1995 by Purdue Pharma, Oxycontin is a pill that gradually releases steady amounts of narcotics for 12 hrs.
- Before Oxycontin patients were required to take pills every four hours to achieve significant relief.
- By crushing oxycontin pills, drug abusers can get the full 12-hour narcotic effect almost immediately.
- It is proven that snorting or injecting this pill can lead to overdose or death.
- Because of the quick heroin like high Oxycontin has become very popular as a street drug and has been touted as reaching epidemic proportions across our country.
According to data by IMS, the annual number of prescriptions for Oxycontin, for non-cancer increased nearly tenfold, from about 670,000 in 1997 to about 6.2 million in 2002. This is a direct result of Purdue Parma’s aggressive Oxycontin promotional machine. Since Oxycontin’s introduction in 1995 they have used an intense and often times corrupted marketing strategy. The FDA cited Purdue Pharma twice for using potentially false or misleading medical journal advertisements for Oxycontin, which violated the Food, Drug, and cosmetic act 1938. Because of their market machine that is geared toward manipulating doctors the pill is not used only used for cancer related pain but is now used for patients with moderate to severe pain. Purdue Pharma continues to distribute material to doctors promoting Oxycontin and other Opiods NON-SELECTIVE for a broad range of pain disorders regardless of diagnosis. This has resulted in opiods being given inappropriately for chronic pain generated by psychological disorders and other somatic disorders. As a result Oxycontin is now the most heavily prescribed medication in the country. A DEA report indicated that more than 7.2 million prescriptions were dispensed in 2002 and approximately 5.8 million prescriptions were for the single entity product Oxycontin. There is currently no regulation that says doctors have to prove they have taken pain killer responsibility courses in order to prescribe these drugs. So permission to prescribe Oxycontin is granted routinely without special training. Purdue Pharma has manufactured a train, loaded it with jet fuel, and now it is careening out of control with no means to control it.
During these years of increased sales of Oxycontin there were marked increases in opiod related deaths do to non-medical and therapeutic uses. As a direct result of Purdue Pharma marketing strategy, between the years of 1997 and 2004, there was a 556% increase in the sales of Oxycontin and a 500% increase in therapeutic grams of oxycontin used. There has also been a 568% increase in the non-medical use of Oxycontin during this time period do to the diversion and sale of the drugs by those motivated by economic gain.
So lets really explore what these statistics are saying. As the sales of Oxycontin increase and more people start taking it, the statistics show at the same rate these same people are gradually taking more and more mgs of the drug. This shows that more and more people are becoming increasingly addicted to Oxy as a direct result of Purdue Pharma aggressively pushing these drugs to our public. Purdue Pharma has single handedly created a street level drug market by purposely over supplying a deadly drug to our public, and specifically the young people in our society. They are destroying the lives of a generation from their ivory tower in Connecticut.
Also during this time the study was conducted there was a 129% increase in opiod related deaths not including heroin: from 1942 deaths in 1999, to 4451 deaths in 2002. If we were to extrapolate the 4451 figure in 2002 over the next four years to the end of 2006 the total number of deaths would be a staggering 22,255. This death rate exceeds the deaths caused by 9/11 and the Iraq war combined.
The bottom line is this we need legislation that classifies Oxycontin to its original use, which is Cancer and severe pain. Both the corporate influence of sales through over promotion, and the lack over regulatory oversight to protect the public have left our us with an epidemic that is absolutely killing our children and tearing a whole in the fabric of our society. This is a fixable problem and it starts by holding those responsible accountable for there actions. Really everyone is responsible in a democratic society we just have to come together and speak our minds. At Freedom Treatment Center we are fixing those broken lives left in the lurch by Purdue Pharma.
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