Washington, DC (TFC) – The FDA has approved the use of OxyContin for children as young as eleven years of age, as of August 13th. A red letter day for Big Pharma indeed, they’ve successful filled their already overflowing pockets by increasing the number of potential opiate addict’s and drug overdoses.
The pharmaceutical empire, Perdue Pharma, the company that created OxyContin and claimed that it was non-addictive, plead guilty in 2007 to a federal criminal count of misbranding the drug, with intent to defraud and mislead the public, through their advertisements. The company, financed by physicians, which generates most of its income from the sale of prescription painkillers, spearheaded the introduction of this powerful and euphoric drug for children.
OxyContin is a synthetic analgesic narcotic, an opioid that is very similar to heroin, and in some circles is even considered a better recreational drug than heroin for its clean and powerful high. Nearly half of all drug overdoses are caused by prescription painkillers. In America, overdose from these medications are now responsible for taking the lives of more people than automobile accidents, which, incidentally, are mainly caused by intoxicated drivers.
OxyContin is amongst the most abused and lucrative prescription drugs found on the streets today. It stands right alongside the FDA approved methamphetamine-like drug, Adderall, which is also prescribed to children. Both OxyContin and Adderall are Schedule Two drugs, while marijuana sits right by OxyContin’s fraternal twin, heroin, at Schedule One.
The rise of this new drug availability raises many concerns. The old OxyContin pill was highly abused. It was quite easy to crush up, allowing the user to snort or inject the powerful narcotic. Of course changes have been made, “due to problems with the abuse and misuse of opioid pain medications, we have encouraged drug companies to make extended-release medications more resistant to misuse and abuse,” proclaimed Sharon Hertz, M.D., Director of Anesthesia, Analgesia, and Addiction Products for the FDA. The new OxyContin pill on the market today “has been reformulated to better resist being crushed or dissolved to discourage abuse by nasal or intravenous routes,” Hertz said.
That’s all fine and dandy, but, putting the powerful effects of the drug when taken correctly aside, people will still be able to find ways to abuse the only “more resistant to misuse” substance. This holds true especially today, in the age of information, a day when nearly everybody has a computer in their pocket, with access to information quicker, and more plentiful than ever before. Once upon a time kids used to build tree forts; now they build virtual forts in cyberspace. The millennials were weaned on broadband and Google, they have technologically surpassed Generation X in many ways, and they’ll be able to know what OxyContin is, and how to get the best high from it a week before their doctor writes the prescription.
The infamous gang at Perdue Pharma didn’t change their drugs formula to protect people from abusing it, they did it to protect themselves from lawsuits, and a bad image in the public’s eye. After all, if people keep dying from their drugs, they won’t make any money. Of course the FDA had to put in their two cents about making OxyContin more careful to use, for they too have an image to uphold. However, if you believe for one second that the FDA or Big Pharma truly care about your well-being, it’s time to crawl out from under that rock of yours.
Doctors, too, play a big role in all of this. Every doctor meets with pharmaceutical representatives, many doctors are swayed, or legally (and sometimes illegally) bribed to prescribe whatever drug is being pushed onto them. For example, doctors, who are in cahoots with Perdue Pharma, will make more money for every prescription they write, a disturbing fact that should make you cringe.
What of the parents whose children are prescribed OxyContin? While some parents will know the dangers of the drug and be very responsible with letting their child take it if absolutely necessary, others may be naive to the devastating effects, and allow their child to take it for even the slightest pain. Some parents will even find a way to get it prescribed to their children for their own mischievous intentions i.e., personal use.
OxyContin in and of itself is not always a bad thing, it does have its benefits for patients suffering from grievous pain. So when is it okay to prescribe to a child? “Similar to adults, OxyContin is approved for use in these patients to manage pain severe enough to require daily,” Hertz said. The problem with that is who decides what severe pain is? The doctor who makes a profit for every prescription he or she writes? Well, yes, the prescribing doctor is the one who ultimately decides if you’re in enough pain to take OxyContin.
One of, if not, the greatest issue concerning OxyContin, is the potential of becoming addicted. For being the director of addiction products for the FDA, Dr. Sharon Hertz said nothing about the danger of becoming addicted to OxyContin in her conversation with the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. The only time she came close to the issue was when she said, “when the decision is made to stop the medication, it should be done slowly and carefully to avoid withdrawal symptoms.” The fact of the matter is that OxyContin is highly addictive, and the withdrawal symptoms are a living hell.
Addiction specialist Dr. Norman Wetterau says that “one can easily become addicted to OxyContin.” He went on to say that “adolescents are more likely to get addicted to OxyContin than adults, because the adolescent brain is not fully developed.” Watterau’s factual statement exposes Hertz as a bold faced liar when she proclaimed that, “The warnings and precautions for pediatric patients are the same as for adults.” Although withdrawal symptoms only occur after taking OxyContin for several weeks, the addiction process is a completely different subject.
Addiction is affected by several factors, such as your environment, such as your brain and your genetics, so people will respond differently to OxyContin. Wetterau explained that “when people take opioids; some people take them and they hate them, they don’t like how they feel, in other people it relieves their pain, they take it for that but otherwise they don’t want it, and some people as soon as they take any opioid they love it, and these are the people who are going to seek it out.” Wetterau went on to say that “doctors prescribe a lot more opioids than they used to, so a lot of people are exposed to it. We used to never really prescribe them for teenagers, except under very unusual circumstances.”
There are of course children who do unfortunately suffer from severe pain and need a powerful painkiller; however the numbers of children who suffer from severe pain are thankfully far less than those who are afflicted by minor pain such as a sprained ankle. Unfortunately many doctors do prescribe OxyContin for mild pain in order to keep their Big Pharma masters happy, and to make a buck. What’s more unfortunate is that they are now able to give it to eleven year old children.