REDLANDS, California-It’s time to wake up America. Oxycontin has its talons so deep into America’s adolescent culture that it’s here to stay. And if we don’t confront it now, our children are going to end up dead. It’s already happening.
Articles about deaths related to Oxycontin and heroin are strewn across the internet like trash on a busy downtown street. Type in your city and the words Oxycontin and heroin and you’re sure to find some tragic account of a promising life cut short by Oxycontin and heroin addiction, and a broken-hearted network of family and friends struggling to cope with the loss.
Synthetic opioides like Oxycontin act on the same brain receptors as heroin. That’s why these prescription painkillers are so addictive. In fact, according to Oxycontin Drug Rehab, an organization dedicated to helping addicts and families find the right treatment center for their situation, an astonishing 75 to 90 percent of all Oxycontin addicts will relapse within the first year. It’s that addictive.
Oxycontin was originally developed to be slow release and to be used with good intentions-to treat pain. But users easily alter Oxycontin’s form for greater intensity. When crushed and snorted, or broken down and inhaled or injected, the effect is euphoric. This can be extremely dangerous because Oxycontin suppresses respiration. Too much too quickly and your child dies. Used over time, the body adjusts, requiring higher and more frequent doses to get the desired affect; and thus, a potentially fatal addiction develops.
Oxycontin, like heroin, also affects the area of the brain responsible for controlling reward, motivation, and emotion. The result is a suppression of concern or caring in your child. Addicts will lie, cheat, steal, harm, and sell their soul and their family’s soul to get this wicked prescription drug.
Some of the signs that your child might be addicted to heroin or Oxycontin are sluggishness, decreased motivation, loss of appetite, apathy, sleeping more than usual, and irritability and irrational behavior when coming off a high with no replacement dose available.
According to a recent statistical report posted by drugrecognition.com, a site dedicated to keeping schools drug-free, 21.8 million Americans age 12 or older used illegal drugs in the past month, up from 19.7 million in 2006. Prescription drug abuse is up 6.3% among 18-25 year olds. “For the first time, there are now more first-time adolescent prescription drug abusers than first-time marijuana users!”
The report goes on to say, “The fastest growing drug of abuse in American high schools is heroin. Many wealthy communities across the country are reporting high school overdose deaths from heroin, a shocking new trend in teenage drug use.” Oxycontin users often turn to heroin as a cheaper substitute high once they’ve become addicted.
Again, once addicted, the relapse rate is 75 to 90 percent! Once this drug gets its teeth into your child, it won’t let go.
In a December 2010 Research Update, the National Institute on Drug Abuse noted that from 1999 to 2009, prescriptions for synthetic opiates and other painkillers went from 45 million to 180 million. That’s a 400 percent increase! But that’s for prescriptions, you say. Not usage.
Unfortunately, this research update also shows that use and abuse of these prescription drugs by adolescents increases proportionately with the number of prescriptions issued, as evidenced by a whopping 59 percent of kids who say that Oxycontin is given to them or stolen from friends and relatives on current prescriptions.
In a 2008 report issued by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Executive Office of the President, researchers found that “many parents are not aware of teen prescription drug abuse. Teens say their parents are not discussing these dangers with them, even though research shows that parental disapproval is a powerful way to keep teens from using drugs. Teens are abusing prescription drugs because many believe the myth that these drugs provide a ‘safe‘ high and they are easily available.”
So what’s the answer? First, as always, talk to your children. Educate them. Have them watch real-life video of addicts and families struggling to survive, like those seen in the award-winning television show Intervention. These videos of real-life addicts fighting for their lives can be very compelling to a child and adult alike.
Watch The Oxycontin Expresswith your children. This documentary will scare you. It shows just how easy it is for anyone to get Oxycontin. Once your child turns 18 years of age, they can start “shopping” pain management clinics for multiple prescriptions. Many of these pain management clinics, as shown in this documentary, serve as fronts for legalized Oxycontin dealing. These so-called medical establishments care little about pain management. They want only the cash addicts willingly throw away.
Next, find out if and how your child’s school monitors this growing epidemic. What procedures are in place to deal with drugs found on campus? How much drug prevention is included in the school’s curriculum? Get involved.
And if your child is addicted to Oxycontin, heroin, or any other drug, seek out treatment programs that work. One such program is Teen Challenge, which boasts of an amazing 87 percent long-term recovery rate.
There are other treatment centers and methods available, but whichever treatment program you choose, remember that treatment goes well beyond detox. Treatment for Oxycontin and heroin addiction requires a lifetime commitment, and faith in a power much greater than our own. Your child will likely abuse you during this time as much as these drugs and withdrawal are abusing them. But keep at it. Your child’s life is on the line!
Again, this problem is only going to get worse. Patients, parents, friends, doctors, and pharmacists all play an important part in preventing abuse of these potent and addicting painkillers. By paying more attention, recognizing that the potential for abuse is great, we can possibly save our child’s life-and maybe a few others in the process.
“Oxycontin Treatment,” Oxycontin Drug Rehab
“Use Statistics,” Drugrecognition.com
“NIDA InfoFacts: Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medications,” National Institute On Drug Abuse
“Prescription for Danger: A Report on Prescription and Over-the-Counter Drug Abuse Among the Nation’s Teens,” Office of National Drug Control Policy, Executive Office of the President