While alarming statistics suggest that OxyContin has quickly become one of the most often abused prescription drugs in America, claims that an OxyContin Addiction Drug may be the answer to the country’s opioid crisis. Not everyone agrees, though, and many believe the company behind OxyContin may, in fact, be looking to make money from treating addiction to it as well.
The Opioid Crisis Is Real
According to the Prevention, over 200,000 people died in the United States from 1999 to 2016 from overdoses related to prescription opioids. Oxycontin–a newer prescription drug from Purdue Pharma that contains the active ingredient oxycodone and is pharmacologically similar in composition to hydrocodone–has quickly become one of the most abused prescription drugs in the U.S. Since it was created in 1995, reports of over 182,000 emergency room visits claim accidental misuse or abuse of oxycodone products were responsible.
Additionally, a whopping 70% of high school students have reported using OxyContin and the drugs that are related to it, and many claim it is the gateway drug to the abuse of a stronger, more dangerous narcotic. OxyContin is commonly prescribed as a pain management medicine and was supposed to be used in place of stronger opiates to reduce accidental addictions.
Sadly, the availability of OxyContin makes its abuse as a substance a worldwide issue, as experts believe somewhere between 26 and 36 million people abuse opioids consistently across the globe.
Why Is The Crisis So Widespread?
When taken properly, OxyContin can effectively be used for chronic pain management, but according to the Drug Enforcement Agency, in 2006, doctors wrote nearly 8 million prescriptions for OxyContin and similarly controlled-release products. As the drug’s popularity as a prescription painkiller has skyrocketed, so does the potential for more addictions and popularity as a party and street drug.
Many believe the popularity as a prescription drug is largely in part due to the heavy marketing from the parent company responsible for OxyContin, Purdue Pharma. Marketed initially as an alternative to stronger, more potent, and potentially addictive drugs, the unique controlled-release formulation of OxyContin means that it contains more oxycodone in it than similar drugs like Percodan and Percocet. Recreational users have also discovered that tablets can be injected or snorted when they’re crushed, and the user instantly receives the entire dosage of the pill.
This is what gives it such a ‘street’ drug effect, giving those who ‘use’ it euphoric highs that are similar to those of heroin users.
Who Stands To Profit?
The crisis is known, however, and governments around the world are taking note of the epidemic and working to do what they can to save lives ruined or even stolen from addiction.
And, in an interesting turn of events, a new patent for a drug that has been shown to be highly effective as a medicine for treating opioid addiction has come about. It’s a new formulation of buprenorphine and is being called the OxyContin Addiction Drug. It is a new version of the already available drug–a wafer–that fights the addiction, even though it is also an opioid. Some call the drug a game-changer in the fight against opioid addiction, while others cry, “Foul,” in that Richard Sackler is one of the six inventors listed on the patent for the Oxy-Contin Addiction Drug. Sackler is part of the family that owns Purdue Pharma and many believe Sackler will make mega-dollars off a crisis he, even indirectly, helped bring about in the first place.
OxyContin Addiction Drug: Trading One Drug For Another?
Is using one drug really an effective way to treat addiction to another drug? Often, doctors will prescribe medicines that will help relieve withdrawal symptoms and will work against the effects of OxyContin while they lessen one’s cravings for the drug. In 2002, the FDA approved buprenorphine to be used in limited situations to manage addiction. Buprenorphine is a partial opiate agonist which means that it does activate opioid receptors in one’s brain, but to a much lesser degree than would OxyContin, and has been found to work well when combined with behavioral counseling.
And, while some experts believe that there is merit in using the OxyContin Addiction Drug to treat OxyContin addiction, others believe that the message they are sending to those addicted users is one that focuses only on the ‘physical’ aspects of the addiction, and not underlying, often psychological reasons behind addiction of any sort.
Pharmacology and Cognitive Therapy Need To Work Together
In fact, Dr. Amanda Gruber is the associate chief of substance abuse in the biological psychiatry lab of McLean Hospital (which is affiliated with Harvard University) and says that using synthetic or actual versions of opiates is not the typical first line of defense when helping someone recover from an OxyContin addiction. She says that those addicted to OxyContin would fare better with the supervision of a medical professional who will help the users taper off safely until they are no longer using any opioids.
And this makes sense. When treated with the supervision of medical professionals and also receiving therapy and treatment that addresses the emotional and mental factors that definitely come into play with addiction, there is a greater chance for a successful recovery from the addiction. Additionally, research shows that many of those addicted particularly in rural areas can’t even afford the OxyContin Addiction Drug or other pharmacological treatments to fight addiction, and behavioral therapy is their best option for long-term success.
Addiction Recovery Is Multifaceted
The reality of OxyContin addiction is that it is not merely a physical dependence on the drug. One can be completely weaned through detox and physical dependence can be gone, and still, addicts are at high relapse risk. This is why it’s important that we look at the possibility of something like an OxyContin Addiction Drug in combination with therapy for the social and psychological aspects of addiction as well.
Therapy and counseling can make a huge difference in helping a recovering individual deal with triggers like stress, environmental changes, or social network involvement, and that gives them the best chances for lifelong recovery.
Contact Ocean Hills Recovery today to learn more about ways to safely start your road to recovery.
About the author:
Nicole earned her doctoral degree in Psychology with an emphasis on marriage and family therapy at California School of Professional Psychology. Her doctoral thesis was a grounded theory study exploring the role of alienation and connectedness in the life course of addiction. She specializes in treating addiction and trauma. She is certified in DBT and EMDR, two of the most highly regarded evidence-based methods in psychotherapy. Dr. Doss is a strong LGBT advocate and provides open and affirming support to her LGBT clients.
Dr. Doss’s earlier education included graduating cum laude from the University of California, Irvine in June of 2007 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. While there, she received honors recognition by Psi Chi and Golden Key honor societies.
Nicole has been working with alcoholics and addicts in our California drug and alcohol rehab center as an advisor and counselor for many years. She is passionate about providing quality counseling and care to her clients. Her main focus is on integrating the 12 Step and disease models of addiction with experiential therapeutic theory. She is married to Greg; they have two adorable sons together and an energetic yellow Labrador Retriever.