Oct 132010

ABC (Australia) television program “Four Corners” Reporter: Matthew Carney  presented this story, Oxy – the Hidden Epidemic, a story that reveals how the misuse of powerful prescription drugs is creating a new generation of addicts.

Ordinary people who take these drugs for legitimate reasons are becoming addicted, some have died, others have seen their lives destroyed.

It was also reported that 11 people a day die from this drug in Florida, yes that is correct 11 die each day.

They are pure, they are legal and they are addictive.

The drugs in question are opiate-based painkillers, prescribed by doctors to help chronic pain sufferers, they are too readily prescribed by Doctors.

Recent figures here in Australia show doctors wrote 1.8 million taxpayer funded PBS scripts for opiate-based painkillers in just one year. Is that a level where Doctors are accepting their responsibilities? I don’t think so.

Ruth was a busy working mum. She strained her back at work in 2006. The pain persisted and nothing seemed to help until her doctor prescribed her an opiate-based painkiller.

Three years on and Ruth had become an addict not of her own making. The crunch came when she overdosed. Fortunately, Ruth received help and has been able to get her life back on track.

Now, a growing number of doctors and researchers are warning that unless we learn to treat chronic pain in different ways, that don’t involve opiate-based drugs, we will have a major problem on our hands.

Oxycontin, Oxynorm and MSContin are some of the brand names but basically for street addicts they’re like heroin in a pill.

For some time now, authorities have warned these drugs are turning up on the streets and are being bought and sold by addicts to satisfy their drug cravings.

“It’s the hidden heroin. It’s the society heroin. You know, to have heroin in a pill.” – Drug addict

Bruce is in his 40s but looks much older. To feed his habit he began to ‘doctor shop’, going from one doctor to another asking for prescriptions of the same drug. Then, realizing how easy it was to obtain legal drugs, he began selling them. In no time at all he was leading a team of people who shopped for drugs they could use and sell.

At the height of Bruce’s addiction, he was even prepared to buy drugs from cancer sufferers. It’s cases like his that explain the expansion of the illicit prescription drug market.

These drugs in Australia now account for more than 80% of reported drug overdoses, exceeding the Heroin overdoses.

Governments & Regulating Authorities need to act with regulations, restrictions & programs to minimize this growing problem & to restrict the use of these opiate-based painkillers to seriously ill patients.

Article Based on

Four Corners – Oxy – the Hidden Epidemic

Reporter: Matthew Carney

Broadcast: 23/09/2010

Source: ABC News

Published:            Monday, September 27, 2010 8:10 AEDT

Expires: Sunday, December 26, 2010 8:10 AEDT

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