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How the Reformulation of OxyContin Ignited the Heroin Epidemic [pdf] (nd.edu)
68 points by Dowwie 11 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 16 comments

Some details from posted article: Until August 2010, Oxycontin could be transformed into a drug with a quick intense high by grinding it into a powder. Grinding disables its time-release technology. Florida regulations supported the creation of clinics providing easier access to Oxycontin to Floridians and others near I-75. In 8/2010, material were added so that grinding no longer was effective. Recreational users switched to heroin, more so in markets with more heroin availability. In 2013, suppliers began mixing fentanyl into heroin, creating a drug with an even more intense high. The switch to heroin from Oxycontin appears to have prevented any reduction in heroin/opioid overdose mortality rates. The introduction of fentanyl appears to have increased opioid mortality rates 4 or 5 times.

Unintended consequences. And it was actually the drug company trying to do the right thing, for once.

Pharma is far from blameless here.

Pharmaceutical companies promoted deregulation to permit advertising directly to doctors and creating quid-pro-quo situations. Pharmaceutical companies campaigned heavily for 'pain management' strategies that used 'safe' opioids. Pharmaceutical companies withhold negative trial results, generating false science. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/jep.12147

These 'safe' slow-release formulations allowed Pharma to generate new IP and new revenue sources. It was never about healthcare or patient comfort, it was about money. And those addicted to opioids are paying the price.

Pretty sure the original (unreasonable) availability of Oxycontin which caused the problems.

There was also an issue of them marketing it as a twice a day drug, which would create big swings for users that fostered addiction.


The original problem was that Purdue Pharma misrepresented it as having less risk of addiction.

I've wondered about that claim. Was there an asterisk next to that claim that said (*compared to Black Tar Heroin)? Given how crazy addictive it turned out to be shouldn't Purdue be held accountable for false advertising and public endangerment?

I had family develop a dependency on Oxycontin. As someone else described, they would snort it for relief. Unfortunately, he passed a year ago due to opioid related reasons. It still hasn't quite hit my father, who also had a similar dependency but has been able to stop using it after a rehab stint.

I don't usually blame problems on a medication, but Oxycontin nearly tore my family apart, as it did countless others. Perdue and its shareholders are complicit in a Great American Tragedy playing out today with Fentanyl and Heroin. I hope they all freeze to death in hell.

I wonder if legal drugs, unquestionably the only sane policy, are ever going to happen. People all over the world overwhelmingly and increasibly support deontological view of the law over consequentialist, ie. not banning something is interpreted as supporting it; only the signal matters, results are irrelevant. That's why marijuana is the only outlier: its use is becoming accepted.


Well, and alcohol.

So it's totally cool if someone takes PCP and goes on a killing spree?

The sackler family are upper class drug lords. Medical schools should be ashamed to take a dime of their blood money.

I wonder why the out of pocket price of Oxycontin spikes so dramatically each January (see figure 4)

Insurance deductible.

interesting, this was around the time that my old colleagues started to dabble. Most got hooked into the hard stuff themselves.

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