The drug companies in Ontario will stop making Oxycontin, in attempts to combat prescription drug addiction in the area. This drug, as well as its replacement, will also not be funded by Ontario Drug Benefit Program. The pharmacy will replace the production of Oxycontin with OxyNEO, which is also made with oxycodone that is in a form that is hard to crush and gels when added to water, making it harder to abuse. This will go into effect at the end of the month.
Drug addicts and experts fear that the new restrictions on Oxycontin will make users more desperate, causing them to turn to more harmful drugs like heroin. According to an article in Windsor Star , one opiate addict said, “I think there is going to be mayhem in the beginning. Hey, when you are dope sick, dude, you’ll do anything. I’m telling you, man, you’ll do anything.” I can vouch for this sentiment. There was a time I would have done anything to combat dope sickness, too.
Another expert argues that this new law will make OxyNEO more controlled. Dr. Tony Hammer, an expert in treating addictions, said, “The people legitimately prescribed it are going to notice they more often have their urine drug screened. The doctor should be asking them questions about their compliance and whether they are keeping them safely.” Linda Barkhouse, a nurse and pain management specialist feels like this legislation is long overdue. She also thinks it may help addicts to get treatment.
Hammer also agrees that this ban will put the pressure on existing addicts. The need for the rush and the fix may send addicts to search for other opiates, such as fentanyl or heroin. Prescription opiates are always the same strength, where as heroin’s strength can vary. There is a fear of overdoses. Hammer admits, “Opiate addiction will drive them to do whatever it takes.” The opiate addicted that was interviewed feels that the addict who needs these pills to function will not be dissuaded by the new ban. He said, “They might go to other provinces to obtain the drug, bring it back here. It will probably inflate the price because they can’t get it. Addicts are clever. They’ll find a way.”
Photo by Don Healy, Leader Post. Courtesy of Windsor Star.