According to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2008 approximately half a million people used OxyContin for non-medical reasons. The rate at which individuals are misusing opiates such as OxyContin is nothing short of alarming. For example, 27 percent of all patients treated by the pioneering Waismann Method of Rapid Detoxification last year were using OxyContin, while 43 percent of patients were using Oxycontin in conjunction with other opioids.
Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took steps towards discouraging misuse and abuse when they approved a new formulation of OxyContin. For those unfamiliar with OxyContin, it is a drug that slowly releases the opioid Oxycodone in order to aid severe pain management among individuals who require ongoing relief. The reformulated OxyContin is intended to help avert potential fatal overdoses by preventing it from being cut, broken, chewed, crushed or dissolved – all methods that have been used in the past to release more medication leading to abuse.
While the FDA’s bold decision validates we need to take action against the growing epidemic, safety and education will remain the two most instrumental factors in utilizing OxyContin, or any other prescription pain medication, as an effective form of treatment for chronic pain.