Demand For OxyContin Detox Coming From People In All Walks Of Life

Demand For OxyContin Detox Coming From People In All Walks Of Life

Last December, in the quiet Massachusetts town of Hyannis on Cape Cod, Jordan Mendes, a 16-year-old high school sophomore, was shot, stabbed multiple times, and his corpse then dumped in a deep pit in the woods and set on fire. Charged for the murder are his 13-year-old half-brother, a 13-year-old friend, and a 20-year-old community college student.

According to Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O'Keefe, Mendes was a "significant drug dealer" of the highly addictive opioid painkiller OxyContin, a drug that is implicated in hundreds of overdose deaths, thousands of addictions across the country, and soaring demands for OxyContin detox and rehab programs from people of all ages and walks of life.

The teenager was murdered, the D.A. said, for the $10,000 cash he had on hand that he had earned peddling drugs.

OxyContin, closely related to morphine and heroin, is normally prescribed for moderate to severe chronic pain. The drug comes in time-release tablets of varying strengths, but most addicts crush the tablets to defeat the time release mechanism, and snort or inject the drug for a quicker high.

In West Yarmouth, not far from where 16-year-old Jordan Mendes was dealing OxyContin, Benjamin Carpenter and his wife Valarie Campos were arrested for dealing OxyContin, which police allege they sold to support their own OxyContin addictions. The couple raked in more than $500,000 during 2007 and 2008 selling OxyContin, said the cops. At $6 to $20 a pill, depending on its strength, that's a lot of deadly OxyContin reaching the streets.

If you average the cost at $13 a pill, Carpenter and Campos put more than 38,460 OxyContin tablets into illegal circulation. The Drug Enforcement Administration says OxyContin is diverted by "well-organized doctor shopping rings, forged and/or altered prescriptions, and diversion from individuals' prescriptions."

We don't know where Carpenter and Campos got their illicit supplies, and the exact amount of OxyContin being diverted for illicit drug sales across America, is not public knowledge. But it must be a staggering number, when you consider that OxyContin is now commonly available from drug dealers on the streets and in the schools of almost every city and town in the country.

Perhaps Purdue Pharmaceuticals, the drug's maker, knows how much of its deadly painkiller is reaching the wrong people, but they aren't saying. Purdue, you may recall, was fined $634 million by the government last year for lying to officials about how addictive and dangerous OxyContin really is.

On the streets, heroin addicts who already have high opioid tolerances routinely take OxyContin as a temporary fix when they can't find a source for heroin. Some reportedly stay with OxyContin as a permanent drug of choice. OxyContin is essentially heroin or morphine, but because it hasn't been cut with unknown amounts of unknown substances, addicts feel safer with OxyContin - they know how much heroin-like drug they're getting, and it's pure.

But OxyContin detox centers report that OxyContin isn't just being abused by hard-core heroin addicts. The drug is affecting everyone from white-collar executives to medical professionals to veterans to college students, teenagers and even seniors and sub-teens - they're all turning up in increasing numbers needing OxyContin detox.

Quite a few people with legal prescriptions for OxyContin, who take it to manage real pain, have become physically dependent on OxyContin. The number of such people needing OxyContin detox programs in the last few years has risen significantly.

But far too many people, whether using OxyContin legally or abusing it recreationally, are finding out how rapidly it can take over their lives. OxyContin abuse rapidly progresses from physical dependence to addiction, along with all the life-destroying activity that accompanies it - alienated family and friends, lost jobs, ruined health, and too often a life of crime to support an increasingly costly habit.

As with any opioid, OxyContin use and abuse leads to higher and higher tolerance for the drug and its effects. As tolerance rises, dosages must rise too, reaching levels that would be fatal for someone being exposed to opioids the first time. Deaths from OxyContin overdose are routinely reported in the media, especially among teens and young adults who don't realize how deadly the drug can be.

For anyone who really wants to get their life back, recovery begins with withdrawal from the drug, which is safest if it is a supervised medical detox program. If the problem is a serious OxyContin addiction, a drug rehab program would be recommended after the detox.

Rod MacTaggart is a freelance writer that contributes articles on health.

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