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Q. I've been reading about a new drug in the newspapers called Oxycontin ®. What is this?

A. Oxycontin is a pain medication prescribed for intense, chronic pain. It's a great medication when used as directed by those who need it. Unfortunately, the reason that it's so good, is also the reason that it is a target for abuse. 

In most pain medications, there is a small amount (perhaps 5 mg.) of the active ingredient (in this case, oxycodone). Oxycontin contains between 10 and 160 mg. of oxycodone in a timed-release tablet. The time-release function allows the legitimate patient to take just one or two tablets a day. 

Studies indicate that most patients who receive opioids for pain, even long-term, do not become addicted to these drugs. 

The problem occurs when abusers obtain the tablets and crush them in order to ingest, snort or inject the substance. In doing so, they feel the powerful effects of the opioid in a short time rather than over a 12-hour span. 

There is a huge profit margin in re-selling prescribed Oxycontin. A 40 mg. pill costs approximately $4 by prescription and can bring up to $40 on the street.

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Last Updated 05.20.2002 | Email Parenting is Prevention | Privacy Policy