Flirting With Disaster: The OxyContin Epidemic In The U.S.

Essay by lilathosCollege, UndergraduateA+, April 2004

download word file, 9 pages 5.0

OxyContin is one of the most widely abused drugs among adolescents today. According to an article in the Psychopharmacology Update, it is one of the most powerful pain medications on the market and has been subject to many government debates. Its extended time-release formula was patented by Purdue Fredrick, and approved for prescription by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1995. OxyContin is a Schedule II narcotic used for pain relief in cancer patients and chronic pain sufferers (1). The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 was implemented by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to categorize different drugs. Under this act, the DEA has separated drugs into five separate "schedules" according to "medicinal value, potential for abuse, and safety or dependence liability" (Congressional Report 2002, 5) The groups go from I to V, schedule I being the most severe drugs that have no medicinal purpose, and going down from there.

Schedule I includes heroin, marijuana, LSD and PCP. OxyContin is a schedule II drug. This means that it has a high potential for abuse or physical dependence but it's still approved for medical purposes (Congressional Report 2002, 5). When the tablet is crushed and snorted, an intense high is the result. The feeling is extremely addicting, it's almost like another universe. In my experience most all people who try it once will do it again. OxyContin can also be diluted and injected in a vein, similar to that of heroin use. "OxyContin tablets contain amounts ranging from 10 to 160 milligrams in a time-release form that can last up to 12 hours" (Psychopharmacology Update 1). When the pill is crushed, the time-release system is broken and the full twelve hours of medication is absorbed in a very short period of time. Depending on the milligrams, the high can be more...