Oxycontin for the rich, heroin for the poor...
February 2, 2006 8:00 AM Subscribe
"Well, a lot of people have said DEA is in the dark on these issues, but that is a little bit much." (.doc; long) Despite a power outage, an FDA-lead panel discusses how to manage abuse of the infamous opiod painkiller OxyContin. Purdue Pharma, its sole manufacturer, had tried to bring its more powerful successor Palladone (.pdf) to the market, before "dosage jump" issues lead to the drug being pulled by the FDA. Meanwhile, trucks loaded with $3mil dollars of "oxys" continue to get hijacked for a $15mil street turnover, despite GPS tracking and other high-tech security measures used for cigarette distribution. Doctors invariably shuffle pills sideways despite tamper-proof presciption pads (long). Purdue only stops selling more profitable and addictive double-doses of OxyContin after government pressure. On the level of the street, addicts who find themselves too tolerant to the drug find their needs more than adequately met when they can buy many more hits of heroin for the same cost. Philadelphia-based writer Jeff Deeney outlines some of these fascinating issues and more as he looks into how race, cost, manufacturing and distribution factors in OxyContin abuse invariably drive the addict to cheaper and more easily accessible heroin.
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