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OPINION - Oxycontin - A Warning to Parents and Friends

OPINION - Oxycontin - A Warning to Parents and Friends

May 18, 2017


My son is missing. I haven’t heard from him for weeks. He is in his mid twenties, a handsome blue-eyed blonde with a winning smile and a great laugh. He is talented and smart, and a great person through and through. 

He had a job with a promising future, a truck, many friends. Now he has nothing. He is a heroin addict. His brother, my husband, and I miss him terribly. It started five years ago with the opiate drug Oxycontin. He moved on to methamphetamines and heroin. I am not sure if he will get through this, and I am broken-hearted. We have spent thousands of dollars on wrecked cars, bail money, rehab, and we’ve suffered many sleepless nights. I am terrified, and I want to warn parents of the dangers of this drug. It is headed your way via a huge marketing campaign. Please read the story and tell as many people as you can. 

I am writing to inform the people about the increase in marketing campaigns of Oxycontin (Oxy) by Purdue Pharma, an American multi-billion dollar company in search of new “victims” unaware of Oxy's deadly link to the opiate crisis in North America. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States has recently introduced regulatory measures to limit the prescription of Oxycontin by doctors who have been falsely informed (by Purdue) about the addictive qualities of this painkiller, and who have been rewarded for prescribing this drug.

When Purdue’s profits began suffering, the company chose to push the drug elsewhere. According to the Los Angeles Times on December 18, 2016 in an article headlined “Oxycontin goes global—We’re only just getting started,” a network of international companies owned by the Sackler family is moving rapidly into Latin American, Asia, The Middle East, Africa, and other regions. The Sacklers are pushing for broad use of painkillers in places ill-prepared to deal with the ravages of opioid abuse and addiction. I want to do what I can to prevent young people worldwide from following the path of our youth who are dying by the thousands due to overdoses of heroin and other opiates. 

Oxycontin became popular as an illegal street drug in the late 90s. Nearly everyone who had surgical medical procedures was prescribed this drug, and it’s accessibility to teens and young adults by way of the home medicine cabinet made it one of the most abused prescription drugs of the decade. It soon was manufactured on the streets and was sold for $100 a pill. Thousands and thousands of young people became addicted. The pill was crushed, snorted, smoked and injected, producing a euphoric high that mimicked heroin. Oxy, no longer living up to its nickname, “hillbilly heroin,” soon became unaffordable on the street and was replaced by black tar heroin.

Largely manufactured in Mexico and distributed throughout North America via an extensive and intricate illegal drug network, black tar heroin can now be obtained for a fraction of the cost of its sister drug, Oxy. I have heard accounts by drug addicts who claim one can obtain heroin in any city in the U.S. in a matter of 20 minutes. They say it is as easy as ordering a pizza. Delivered to your door!

Oxycontin VictimHeroin is now cut with other deadly drugs including Fentanyl, the drug responsible for the death of the pop icon Prince. The effects of this opiate epidemic are tearing apart families. The death toll from opiate overdose in the U.S. now exceeds automobile fatalities and mortality due to gun violence. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, from 2002 to 2015, the annual total number of deaths from prescription opioids nearly doubled, increasing from 9,000 to 16,000.

During the same period, the number of deaths per year from all opioid drugs (heroin, opioid analgesics [e.g., Oxy], and illicit synthetic opioids) rose from 12,000 to 30,000. And the numbers are growing. Who is responsible for this epidemic?

In 1952, Purdue Pharma was purchased by 3 brothers, Arthur, Raymond, and Mortimer Sackler, practicing psychiatrists in the northeastern part of the U.S. Arthur, a member of a New York-based advertising firm, began TV and radio marketing of the drug. The company soon increased its sales representatives from 318 in 1996 to 671 in the year 2000. These reps received bonuses averaging $70,000 a year selling Oxycontin to doctors. In 1996, the company made 45 million dollars. In 2000, their sales jumped to 1.1 billion. In 2010, they made 3.1 billion dollars, and now they controlled 30% of the painkiller market. The illegal use was skyrocketing. Parent groups and grass-roots organizations began rising up to fight the problem. Kentucky won a 24-million-dollar law suit against Purdue for falsely marketing the drug as non-addictive.

What can be done? Does rehab work and who, but the wealthy, can afford to send their teens and young adult sons and daughters to these rehab centers? What about the problem of overcrowded jails? Money allotted for research and affordable rehabilitation for drug addicts is part of the answer. Education and awareness is where we can start right now. Marketing Oxycontin in countries with fewer prescription drug regulations, knowing it to be a drug responsible for the deaths of thousands of young people in the USA— this is a crime akin to genocide. Please speak out against Purdue Pharma. Tell your friends.

Sincerely, Broken Hearted Mother

Please WATCH this video - The Oxy Trap, produced by Cody Goodfellow, posted on VIMEO - It explains how people, especially young people, get trapped with this drug. The impacts it has on formerly reasonable and intelligent people. The speed with which someone becomes addicted. There are options to pain management. Addictive substances are DANGEROUS. This particular drug is especially dangerous from the manufacturer who sells it, to the physicians who prescribes it, the the patient who falls prey to it.

‘The Oxy Trap’ Bonus Footage-OxyContin in Tacoma

Every Survivor has a Future


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