Street Heroin Is Cheaper Than Oxycontin, and Overdoses Are Increasing
Mary Silver - Epoch Times
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March 14, 2015

The how and why of heroin addiction. (Roy Kelly)

The opioid drug OxyContin was changed to make it harder for people to abuse, but the modification had limited value. People may have simply switched to the less expensive but just as dangerous drug heroin, according to researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Some used the reformulated OxyContin anyway.

Researchers surveyed almost 11,000 drug users at 150 drug-treatment facilities in 48 states. “We found that the abuse-deterrent formulation was useful as a first line of defense,” said senior investigator Theodore J. Cicero, PhD, a professor of neuropharmacology in psychiatry, in a statement about the study. “OxyContin abuse in people seeking treatment declined, but that decline slowed after a while. And during that same time period, heroin use increased dramatically.”

OxyContin was originally designed as a timed-release capsule. It contained high levels of the pain killing drug oxycodone. But people in search of a euphoric high could crush the time-release particles and get all the dose at once. The new formulation, developed in 2010, made it hard to either crush or dissolve OxyContin. In 2010, 45 percent of study members who were entering rehab for drug addiction had used OxyContin in the previous 30 days.

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