Oxycontin has been the cause of over 120 overdoses resulting in death (Holahan). Oxycontin is a new drug designed to relieve chronic pain. It is the most potent drug on the market providing 12-hour pain relief causing its large popularity. Many prescription holders have recently abused this new miracle drug, but there are solutions.
Oxycontin has a very high street value. When sold has heroin, prescription holders can sell each pill for up to $50 (FDA). The illegal distribution is more common in southern Maine and the street value is cheaper. The drug is snorted or injected, causing all of the drugs potency to be released in one rush or high. Using these methods to abuse the drug cause it to be very addicting. Some users have claimed that the high is very close to the high experienced from heroin.
Some ways to obtain the drug illegally include altering or copying prescriptions, altering other prescriptions, cleaning prescription pads and creating new prescriptions. You can also go to more than one physician to obtain multiple prescriptions, and shop at varied pharmacists to avoid suspicion. Solutions currently in place include prescriptions pads which cannot be copied, faxing a copy of the prescription to the patient's pharmacy, and writing the text of the number in addition to the number. .
In Southwest Virginia, more than 35 fatal overdoses have been linked to the drug's active ingredient. At the same time, police say, crime rates have soared in some coalfield counties as addicts steal, rob and cheat to support their habits. In Pulaski Va., Oxycontin has overtaken cocaine and marijuana. Property crime is up 50% (Roche 47).
Ed David, MD, of the Board of Licensure spoke from the Board's viewpoint. "Doctors who follow the rules for prescribing C2 narcotics will not be prosecuted for abuses by their patients. It's important for the doctor to know their patient, examine the patient, and write the prescription appropriately.