July 12, 2012

Opana abuse overtakes OxyContin in U.S.

The Indy Star reports abuse of the painkiller Opana has risen in popularity over OxyContin in the U.S., particularly due to a recent change in OxyContin’s formula.

Opana, the trade name for oxymorphone, is a powerful prescription painkiller. It has recently filled the void of those who abuse OxyContin after its manufacturer changed OcyContin’s formula to deter users from crushing, breaking or dissolving the pill so it could be snorted or injected to achieve a high.

The rising popularity of Opana show one of the struggles in preventing prescription drug abuse for law enforcement and addiction specialists: The adaptability of addicts. When the abuse and trafficking of one drug falters, another pops up.

“It's almost like a game of Whac-A-Mole. You get a handle on OxyContin; they switch to Opana,” Jeffrey Reynolds, executive director of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence in Mineola, N.Y., tells the Indy Star. “My guess is it will be something new tomorrow.”

According to the White House Office on National Drug Policy, prescription drug abuse is the nation's fastest-growing drug problem. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has classified the misuse of these powerful painkillers as an epidemic, with 1.3 million emergency room visits in 2010, a 115 percent increase since 2004.

Click here to read the full story in the Indy Star.

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