OxyContin: The History of OxyContin
The origins of OxyContin
In 1995, a Stamford, Connecticut pharmaceutical company named Purdue Pharma introduced OxyContin. Although the active ingredient in the new pain killer was actually nothing new at all. Oxycodone had been around for over six decades prior to the release of OxyContin. What was new about OxyContin was the way this ingredient was delivered by the drug.
For many years prior to the introduction of OxyContin, pain killers were used to relieve the suffering of those in severe pain due to cancer or major surgery recovery. Doctors advised patients to have the painkillers in their bloodstream at all times in order to stave off the pain. The problem was that the major pain killers (such as morphine and others) only worked to relieve an individual’s pain for 2-3 hours on average. This meant that individuals would have to take several pills each day in order to keep their dosage at a workable level. OxyContin removed this problem from the equation by delivering its active ingredients over a 12 hour period.
The Widespread use of OxyContin
OxyContin became an overnight sensation in the medical community, earning almost a billion dollars for Purdue Pharma in the first years of its release. In marketing the drug to physicians, Purdue raised awareness of pain management for their patients -an area on emphasis that was being largely overlooked within most of the medical community. The more doctors became aware of pain issues in their patients, the more the prescribed pain medication -and OxyContin was there to fill the bill.
Big Problems with Oxycontin
With massive sales came big problems for Pharma and their drug OxyContin. Abuse of OxyContin started spreading like wildfire across the country. Addicts -in particular those in search of their next heroin fix -discovered that if they snorted or injected OxyContin, they could remove the time release element of the drug and receive a powerful high very quickly. At this point, the “miracle drug” treatment OxyContin received in the press began to backfire as more addicts started learning about the drug and its effects.
Quickly, emergency rooms began filling up with individuals who had underestimated the power of OxyContin and were overdosing. The Drug Enforcement Agency moved in quickly, and has since responded with legal actions against many doctors who prescribed the medication -and put heavy restrictions on how it is marketed.