Now that generic OxyContin has been approved in Canada, the U.S. is preparing for a potential influx of this potent narcotic painkiller. According to the Wall Street Journal, the White House has put police and border agents on alert for these highly addictive meds that could be hitting U.S. streets within a month.
Diversion into the U.S. is a real threat, according to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. Prescription drug abuse is of big concern for both the United States and Canada. Millions of people take prescription painkillers such as OxyContin and Percocet safely each year. But sadly, many people have fallen prey to their habit-forming nature, descending into opiate addiction.
The Lure Of OxyContin For Abusers Includes Dulling Of Physical, Emotional Pain
Cheaper, generic forms of OxyContin may be easier to abuse, an attractive feature for people who take them for their properties outside of pain relief. When abused, OxyContin can cause a high similar to heroin, with extreme sedation and in some cases, a state of euphoria. Many people abuse them as a means to dull psychological or emotional pain.
OxyContin is a time-release drug that contains oxycodone, a semi-synthetic opioid. It’s meant for round-the-clock control of severe pain that may be chronic, such as the pain caused by cancer. But in the last several years, OxyContin has increasingly been prescribed for other, less serious types of pain. Some health advocates say that doctors are over prescribing these meds, and the U.S. is cracking down on so-called “pill mills,” which dole out painkillers, sometimes without a prescription.
Painkiller overdoses in the U.S. are the leading cause of accidental death, toppling car accidents. OxyContin was introduced to the market in the 1990s and has been reformulated once by manufacturer Purdue Pharma. This came after abusers realized they could disable the time-release mechanism by crushing or chewing the pills for immediate absorption.
Could Generic OxyContin Soon Be Legally Available In The U.S.?
Most people welcome generic forms of popular medications because they’re easier on the wallet. But in the case of OxyContin, there is a fear that opiate abuse could escalate further if the cheaper form is readily available.
The U.S. patent on the original form of OxyContin expires in April 2013, according to the manufacturer. It will then have to be decided by lawmakers whether generic forms of this drug should be allowed in the U.S.
Six generic forms of OxyContin have been approved in Canada. The approval came, despite urging on the part of many doctors, researchers and officials throughout the country.