OxyContin and the Opium Epidemic of the 21st Century

Beginning over two hundred years ago, the opium plant was credited with being implicated in destroying the Chinese dynasties that had ruled China for thousands of years prior to The Republic of China being created in 1912. With opium reaching China’s shores in increasing amounts, the Chinese Emperor, Ch’ien Chieh, has been attributed to the following quote in 1811: “This item, opium, spreads deadly poison. Rascals and bandits indulge in it and cannot do without it even for a second. They do not save their own earnings for food and clothes, but instead exchange their money for the pleasure of this narcotic. Not only do they willingly bring ruin upon their own lives, but they also persuade friends to follow their example. Previously, we decreed its prohibition, yet treacherous merchants still buy and sell it. When people smoke it, they may be incited to do all sorts of evil. When smoking becomes a habit, then they cannot stop even though they want to. Thus they bankrupt themselves and even lose their lives”.

Oxycontin PillsIt is my contention that we presently are well into the first 12 years of what future historians will refer to as the “opium epidemic of the 21st century”. From a historical perspective, in the beginning of the 20th century it is reported that 27% of the adult male population in China was estimated to be addicted to opium. With the recent dramatic increase in raw opium being imported into our country to make oxycodone (OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), and all the legal opium derivatives, the statistics available from a number of government agencies can help surmise the number of addicts that have been created since the introduction of OxyContin by the FDA in 1996.

Thousands of years ago, opium was originally ingested as the pure juice from the plant and later manipulated into a formulation that could be smoked for instant gratification. The various alkaloids (natural constituents) within the opium plant can also create or be changed into additional addictive and deadly molecular entities in various forms. In 1803 Morphine was isolated from the plant and with the invention of the hypodermic syringe in 1853 morphine was a welcome miracle during the Civil War. However, the 400,000 morphine addicts, better known as “the soldier’s disease”, created after the war is seldom discussed. In the late 1800’s Heroin was synthesized from Morphine. In 1916 Oxycodone (active ingredient of OxyContin) was created and Hydrocodone (active ingredient in (Vicodin) was discovered in 1920. With the epidemics of pneumonia and tuberculosis in the late 1800’s, heroin was introduced as a “cough product”. In 1943 hydrocodone was approved by the FDA as a cough suppressant and oxycodone made its inroads into medicine via an approval of the drug Percodan in 1950. It is important to note that whether the active ingredients for euphoria come from the pure opium juice or a product that is derived from the opium plant the results of potential addiction, withdrawal and possible death are identical.

The history of our drug laws make for interesting reading in conjunction with our history of racial phobias. In the 1850’s San Francisco leaders had a fear that “white people were starting to smoke opium with the Chinese” which led to a ban on opium smoking in that city. Later, William Randolph Hearst reported that “white women were being seduced by Chinese men in opium dens. Southern Democrats supported stricter laws on narcotics because “the cocaine crazed Negro brain” was creating problems. In the 1930’s it was stated that “Mexicans were marijuana users and marijuana use caused violence”. In other words, the original drug laws were passed for the blatantly wrong reasons!

However, we now have before us the cold statistics of deaths, addictions, production increases, emergency room visits, robberies, thefts, daily news accounts, police reports, etc., and we have a collective governing body, officials, experts and media who remain silent on the growing epidemic being created by drug companies and medical charlatans who will produce and distribute as much addictive product that they possibly can. Over one hundred years ago irrational logic passed rational laws and today we have modern information allowing irrational outcomes.

The drug companies have been ingenious in promoting the opium plant, the same molecular entity that has a history of destroying communities and families for thousands of years. In the drug company’s promotional campaigns, the public is presented with an individual who is in true need of relief and support. The results have become a convoluted outcome that includes an epidemic of death and addiction. In this period of history, for the opium poppy, the destruction is being fostered under the guise of “pain relief”. In spite of no long term studies or weak documentation at best that conclusively support the use of opium derivatives for chronic pain relief, the distribution of the opioids continues to increase. The same doctors who distribute thousands of pills that include oxycodone and hydrocodone do not understand the causes of addiction and “cravings”. The doctors who prescribe the addictive products cannot describe addiction, explain addiction or put addiction into a reasonable biological description. However, we continue to give unqualified doctors a carte blanche on distribution. If someone was selling OxyContin in your front yard, you would be calling the police during the first drug deal.

Before OxyContin, pain was a symptom of a physical ailment. Somehow “pain” has become a “disease state” in itself. The growth of the “pain management” industry has fostered addiction and death in numbers never seen before. Our family members are not becoming addicted or dying from the “disease of pain”, but from the new growing disease of addiction and misuse fostered by the misrepresentation of treating pain.
The end result has been that the opium plant was recently limited to a few areas of our cities in the form of heroin and has now become a part of every street and community in America in the form of oxycodone and hydrocodone. Every newspaper has recently reported on a death, robbery, or crime directly related to the opium plant. I continue to wait for the American leaders, public officials and the media to begin to understand the cause of the growing epidemic they have started to report on, but still do not understand.

Does the “5000 year old” opium plant have its place in modern medicine? Absolutely! But let’s begin to have rational discussions about the plant and rational solutions that will stop the growth of death and addiction our drug companies promote, with the FDA and medical profession’s complicity, that continue to go unabated in our country and the world.

The Prescription Addiction Radio Show – Breaking the Silence
Larry Golbom R.Ph MBA
Author exclusive USRCN editorials from Mr. Golbom:
Modern Painkillers – Biggest Hoax in Medical History
The Modern Marketing of Pain

See Also:
Oxycontin Recall
Darvocets Recalled

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Larry is a registered pharmacists, activist and radio show host of the Prescription Addiction Radio Show and writes about the prescription drug epidemic in America.

43 thoughts on “OxyContin and the Opium Epidemic of the 21st Century

  1. Four years later, we find that OxyContin has lead the prescription painkiller epidemic that has taken over our country a totally new level. We have collectively as a society suffered consequences that can no longer be ignored . We have learned that advances on pharmaceuticals should be fully researched and investigated before distributed in our pharmacies and prescribed by our doctors. Too many lives have been lost because the responsible government agencies did not have as a priority the wellbeing of the public in mind.

  2. The way for our government to win back the support of Americans is to stop making things that grow from the ground illegal. Mj should be legal, poppy should be legal and those of us who have ever been arrested for the posession, sale or cultivating should have those records removed from their file. How can you make something that was created by god illegal?

  3. I am a nurse employed at a community hospital in an affluent suburb of the Gulf Coast of Florida since the 1990’s. I agree with much of what I have read, and especially liked the comment that “pain” is now treated as if it were a disease in of itself (which it is not). I am heart-sick over our/my participation in the abuse of opiates seen in this arena. All to frequently we see chronic pain patients (typical home meds are oxycontin, roxycodone, soma, xanax) admitted a week or so before they can renew their prescriptions. I believe we are helping them to cheat on their pain management contract by adding to their opiate supply. If a patient presents to the ED with a complaint of chest pain or abdominal pain (example) and are admitted for an expensive work-up, it is not unusual to find oneself giving 1-4mg of IV dilaudid every 2-4 hours. Ten years ago this is what I might (cautiously) give a dying bone-cancer. Apparently achieving a state of unconsciousness, only interrupted by toileting and meals appears to be an acceptable goal for patients if their vital signs are stable. Attempts to reduce frequency of doses in extreme cases can result in patients complaining about care to administration, staged falls, new “chest pain” or whatever it takes to increase the dose or extend the hospital stay… in a nutshell, in order to have time to care for the patient who is actually trying to survive a heart attack, the path of least resistance (medicating the squeaky wheel) is the only logical choice. This is not HEALTH CARE as I envisioned it, in fact it is exactly the opposite. Terminal sedation should be reserved for terminally ill patients. Pain medications that immobilize and endanger patients, ruin their health and the lives of those around them It is wrong, wrong, wrong… And, yes, I am toying with the idea of taking my considerable life-saving nursing skills to Hospice or quitting the profession altogether so I live with myself!

  4. My son was introduced to Oxycontin by his ex-girlfriend over one year ago. I saw a change. It was like the light in his eyes was switched off. His behaviour changed. He became aggressive, angry, and although he receives good paychecks was always broke. We suspected drugs and confronted him, but could never pin point the problem. Finally over 20,000 dollars of jewellry was stolen from our home. That started a closer scrutiny and police detective involvement. Eventually the girlfriend admitted she had stolen from us to pay drug debts. After months of turmoil in our home, we finally determined that our son has an Oxycontin addiction. Life hasn’t settled since. Money has been stolen along with cars and valuables all to feed this evil habit. He has promised to detox and attemped 5 times. All-the-while he has gouged at his face, arms and legs. Has oozing sores all over his body. We have lived a life with fear of suicide, heart attack and even our own safety. Never would I have thought that a honors student, who never once walked in a principals office or got into fights or caused any grief to family–would fall so far down into a dark hole. I have spoken to police, interventionists, councellors, nurses and doctors–they have all said this is the worst drug to ever try to detox from. Once you try it – it grabs your soul.

    The Purdue Drug Company, along with pharmacies, doctors must compile a national data base to monitor frequency of prescriptions. There are people without morals–faking pain, pretending prescriptions are lost or stolen, and selling this drug to our young people to supplement their heartless lifestyles. This drug is too easily found throughout communities and is quickly consuming bright young lives. Until some abuse prevention measures are taken, the FDA should impede the PRODUCTION OF THIS HARMFUL DRUG NOW!

  5. Larry fails to recognize the basic point which Randy (and others) are trying to convey – Bottom line being; it is questionable whether one can consider a self inflicted, consentual lifestyle of drug abuse an EPIDEMIC, especially when you contrast these drug abuse deaths with actual evils of humanity as randy mentioned; mass murder, slavery, starvation, all true epidemics in which those affected have no choice in the matter, and are either deprived involuntarily of life, liberty, property, etc.

    Drug use, drug abuse, and drug addiction – These are not “diseases” or “viruses”, and are not contagious or infectious. Opioids are not bacilli or biological weapons which travel the air and infect people against their will. If my neighbor uses heroin, there is no chance of a stray heroin “germ” floating into my yard and infecting me. Likewise, drugs have no capacity to destroy communities or people themselves. People destroy their own communities, and people destroy themselves. You actively practice what I call Voodoo Pharmacology; a superstitious notion that characterizes drugs themselves as powerful, supernatural, and inherently evil; capable of “enslaving” individuals.

    It’s all unintelligent rhetoric, and frankly it’s bullshit.

  6. I think that if you take oxycotin then its ur owen problem not everyone esle because once or on something its hard too to quit what ur doing and on some people it could create a physcaial and psychological problems. Soo teenes and alduts you can do some much better than taken oxycotin because one day you can realy make something of urslef. :)

  7. Good night, Happy Fool’s Day!!

    As a senior citizen was driving down the freeway, his car phone rang. Answering, he heard his wife’s voice urgently warning him, “Herman, I just heard on the news that there’s a car going the wrong way on 280. Please be careful!”
    “Heck,” said Herman, “It’s not just one car. It’s hundreds of them!”

    Happy April Fool’s Day!

  8. sorry I cant assist you right now please discard previous comments as my back is killing me from sitting up so long I wll redo tommorow as I guess this is just company trying to out do another company.

  9. I have read these articles for days now and I started throwing some questions in the back of my mind at my lap top. See acouple of years ago I was veiwing a program on etv Ithink it was nova and they were talking about cobra venom being used in oxycontin so I decided to ask my good buddy here the scientific properties of oxycontin .Well it just so happened it is Cobra venom I found this to be very upsetting as I remembered the insurance company (medicare) not wanting to pay for the oxycontin due to the price so I was switched to 75 mg fentanal patches with 7.5 mlligrams of hydrocodone for break through pain whiched caused my ankles to swell the size of my knees,so they changed it to morphine this did the same as the phentanl with lttle or no pain relief . so back t o oxycontin it was. this has been quite some time ago. point being the oxycontin had a signifacant amount of better pain killer than the other opiates this leaves me with the impression being the addict Ihave turned into from merely using and opiate of any type or amount for the last 15 years as it was 15 years ago that I had my spinal surgery and knowing from expierence what the opiate has done to me as a human being in every way possible mentally, emotionally,PHYSICALLY and MEDICALLY not to mention the devstation it has done to me money wise and to my insurance . Now bottom line some man by the name of Deitsech that works as a biotechnoligist? has just come up with a medication called cobroxin over the counter and nyloxin prescription strenth and at a very affordable PRICE! is non narcotic! and 600 times stronger than morphine so Ive read. Its scientific properties are once again cobra venom! If this is infact true ! I imagine all you true addicts that want to be opiate free due to the amount of bone and muscle pain by it self that you came across trying to get off of this money maker called oxycontin fda and dea has let slip into society through the hands of our trusted medical doctors by yourself like I did not knowing what withdrawl was Will love to here this! as it seems to me this has establhished the fact the opiate was infact put in oxycontin to not only to promote sales but to INSURE sales with its addictive properties? Does any body out there get the feeling I get? And does any body know a good attorney in south carolina?

  10. RE: Tudo…

    Ohh, no it couldn’t have anything to do with our national security or the fact that the folks who flew into our buildings were trained at terrorists camps in Afghanistan, or the fact that another quasi-religious theocracy gone amok in the Middle East might be the straw that breaks the camels back. No… Obama is a drug dealer. That explains it.

    You’re an idiot.

  11. I couldn’t agree with you more. This is an epidemic beyond any thing one could imagine. I can’t talk with 20 families without hearing the sad story of prescription addiction. The pharm companies are heartless. I believe there is a place for pain killers, but narcotic patients should be required to register with picture id, and social security so they can not doctor shop. It is a simple solution, but the big companies lobby against it. They will lose billions if the street sales are cut off. It is sad.

  12. Thank you for a great response Robert C. I’m looking for someone to write an opposing viewpoint to Mr. Golbom’s editorials. Feel free to contact me in regard to this if you are interested.

    This post is an editorial written by a guest writer who is concerned about “abuse” of these drugs. Note the word “abuse” and not “use”.

    I hope that I never have to know the pain you are going through. And I hope it gets better for you.



  13. I’m now 47yrs old and have been taking strong pain meds for close to 10yrs. I always worked very hard, always on time and received various awards for this. One day March 30, 1990 at 5pm I will never forget the time and date. I suffered an injury that ruined my life, I just didn’t know how bad it was ruined at the time. While working overtime because peoples lights were out I fell 40ft, hit a stop sign with my left arm before slamming into the concrete and shattering a vertebrae along with a huge number of other injuries, especially my spinal cord and other back injuries. I had fallen off a power pole when the wood broke under my gaff. I was immediately paralyzed from the waist down. I wanted to get up! I always worked out and usually ran 3 to 4 miles after lifting weights for a couple of hours at least 3 times a week. The surgeon didn’t think I would ever walk again and a good chance I would die. I was paralyzed from the waist down. I had extensive and multiple surgeries to make repairs. I refused pain medication while in the hospital and only took Tylenol #3 sparingly after I went home after close to 2 months in the hospital. I knew the stigma some people have about pain medication, they look down on them so I refused to take any. I worked hard in physical rehab. They wanted me to learn how to deal with being disabled! I refused and pushed them because I was going to walk again if possible. I did and was able to climb power poles again. I continued to just work hard, I ignored pain! I got back to working about 25hrs of overtime every week. Then as the days, weeks and months went by I noticed my legs were getting weak and I was hurting more. I went to the doctor, he did more x-rays. After seeing him a few more times he said more surgery wouldn’t help, he sent me to a pain mgmt doctor. He increased my meds a little and it helped. After a while the pain was worse, he gave me more. I changed jobs because the pain was worse and my legs were weaker. I needed to cross a street at work, I fell flat on my face due to pain and weakness. The pain got worse and I was having a hard time walking. He gave me stronger pain meds so I could walk. It got worse, I had more surgery, I could no longer work but the pain is worse and I now have a very hard time walking from one room to another. Guess what? The pain is still getting worse! I’m not saying medication is the answer. My doctor doesn’t say this either. Pain medication has allowed me quite a few years where I still felt I could do things a normal person does. Believe me, when you are young, walk with a walker, crutches or on a really good day just a cane. You aren’t treated normal. So why don’t you people that think a broken leg or a severe sprain is bad pain get off your high horse and quit putting us down and work as hard to come up with something better? I HATE taking pain medication, if I don’t I can only lay in pain 24/7. Give me a choice that works! I loved playing sports, lifting weights etc. I loved how the physical exertion felt. I can’t do it anymore, currently I have severe pain over most of my body but the worst is my lower left back, hip and leg. If I raise my leg the pain is so severe it knocks me to the ground. My lower mid back has pain as if someone pounded me with a hammer. I’m not saying the meds are the answer, they aren’t. But, that’s my only option to reduce the pain. I talk to my doctor about how if I was an animal they would put me down. He said they don’t do that to humans because we’re worth more. Sure if funny how he’s one of the few that really cares while others only want to say how people in pain should just deal with it and you have the nerve to call the doctors dealers! The medication kills people??!! WHAAAAT??!!! If it wasn’t for the medication believe me the suicide rate would be much higher. But then you goody two shoes would be able to say “Look at the drugs we took away, aren’t we great!” . I guess you think it’s okay if the person kills themselves for any reason other than pain medication is just fine and you can sleep at night. It’s okay since the person that killed themselves because they could no longer deal with the pain wasn’t related to you. With the way you think that would likely be okay also. Ever wonder why elderly people want the ability to die with dignity? They are usually in excruciating pain. But then again, you that don’t deal with pain surely know what’s best for all of us after all, harump we only have pain! We thousands of good people are good as the rest of you, only we have extreme pain and want our pain to be tolerable. Surely there must be something you could compare. Guess what? There’s not…. we pain people were all as normal as you at one time, let’s see what YOU do if you ever have this pain. You will cry for compassion also.

  14. You people put way way way too much value to human life… Life sucks. The pain of everyday life in middle to lower classes is ludicrously high.. You religious nuts are taught that you’re supposed to “live life to the fullest”, going about the earth, destructing it, breeding like rabbits, contributing to overpopulation…

    You wanna live life til your 120 in horrible pain? Go for it.

    QUALITY of life is more important that quantity.

  15. I take oxycodone for scoliosis,6 slipped discs,degenerative disc disease,severe arthritis,2 bulging discs with spinal cord impengement,siatica,severe spasms in my back, severe spondiyolitisis to name a few. I am only 48 years old. My degree is in horticulture and I have been at my job for 10 years. It is how I support my family , make insurance available and pay my mortgage. SSI will not provide this for my family. A desk job is out of the question as it is more painful to sit even for one hour.I would much rather not have to treat my pain this way as I debated taking it for some time,trying every oter avenue first. 17 weeks of painful therapy, constant trigger point injections,too many epidurals,some of it worked for a short time and your only allowed so much cortisone so I ask you what is your suggestion go on ssi, loose my home, give up everything I have worked for my entire life. and my family do without everything? I tried celebrex,and everything over the counter pain releavers,patches and started with the lowest form of perscription pain releaver avail nothing worked until this. I am open for suggestions. Let’s hear it. Thanks. treat my pain. I might add this oxycodone only lessens the pain enough to keep working. I am smart enough to know if one doesn’t completely do it 2 won’t either so I wait my 4 hours.

  16. Since the Oxycodone recall, and completely stopping the pills: 1) I did not have withdrawal symptoms (sweats); 2) I absolutely had the most excruciating pain come back, that can just dissolve your mind, besides body. The drugs didn’t dissolve my mind, but the pain sure did. No one could live with that amount of crippling pain. Chronic pain physically affects the body.
    My doctor replaced my prescription starting me on Oxycontin: (because my mail-in company won’t cover a different brand??- who knows; the local pharmacist is also on back order – who knows why?). I’m not really thrilled with this drug, because I get additional headaches – maybe I’m adjusting to it. I know they say it is the same, we will see. I do see it is “longer term”, but it still quits early, as did the previous medicine, plus I get a headache, but its better than nothing.
    I’ve prayed for this 30-year cross of pain to be taken away from me. I am still young, I don’t want to live as someone in their 80’s, when I’m not. I don’t want my husband leaving me because of all my physical problems. He already takes up most of the slack of shopping, etc. God Bless Him!
    The “drug abuser” excusers are full of nonsense. An abuser will abuse, unless they control themselves. If you can’t control it – put it in GOD’s hands. That was the ONLY way I stopped smoking. I knew I couldn’t do it on my own. I still couldn’t – HE does it for me. It’s 8.5 years, I still could be a weakling and go back, when I think of it – I immediately turn it over to God. If you’ve tried everything else, try that, because if there is an issue in your life you can’t control, if it’s meant to be helped, maybe He can help.
    And yes, I have turned my pain over to God. I have people and doctors that have faith in me, and I am trying. Maybe one day I will have that blessing too.
    My husband always says I should ask ANYONE if they’d want to walk a mile in my shoes. I haven’t had ONE taker on that. Until you feel the unrelenting horrific pain, you can’t imagine what you are talking about, nor would you want to.
    The pain people that are taking meds for a “buzz” – it’s because of you, that people like me might have a problem in the future. Grow up. If I am able to move, to go, to…whatever, I am so grateful. I am grateful to be alive, I might be in pain, but I am alive, and trying to have a life. Only when the pain slaps me down am I devastated. But even with the pain, if I can keep “sort of functioning in a life” – aren’t I so lucky. You need an attitude adjustment. Maybe if the pain was real bad again – the buzz wouldn’t be so important.
    I had cellulitis 2 years ago. Absolutely excruciating. Couldn’t move, antibiotics and pain pills doubled. Then onto walker, leg swelled. Still have residue of muscle’s dissolving. Don’t know if this is what Jim’s osteomylitis was? Sounds similar. Took protein powder, EXERCISE! Try, keep trying, have faith, give it time. Everytime I see a doctor the say “Exercise”. Going to P/T. Don’t give up. ASAP went back to original dosage of medicine, and kept trying other modalities to help.
    As I review my records, I guess I been taking a pain med for about 11 years, at first they made me sick and nauseous, I hated them. (That was on 1 pill). I have had to increase slightly, (6 (5 mg) of oxycodone, not 3 (10 mg) Oxycontin, but if I can cut back I’d love to.
    Went for 1 of 3 epidurals today, not like years ago where I had no anesthesia, and they scraped your spine to find whereever they had to find. These shots won’t cover my “original” serious pain – they hopefully will help some other pains. Maybe someday the new technology will keep improving and let me have a life. I hope the pain meds, let me get to the point where technology catches up.
    Years ago the doc said I am the “test” – basically the lab test, that will help future generations. Maybe I’ll actually live long enough to get relief. Oh joy – to save my liver! Another reason to stay at the lowest dose. I have been told they don’t know anyone on it as long as I have been, but I am responsible and DO NOT ABUSE!
    Except for a few wacky, and winey posts, I am reading the posts from the people that have had TRUE pain, and see the seriousness of the affect on their lives, and the lives of those that they love.
    The ones using drugs as an excuse or a “controlling” factor to use over others is sad.
    This is not a joke, the pain people speaking here are in turmoil, and trying to live a life.
    If someone needs to change doctors to a doctor that actually listens to them, they need to find someone who will help them – whether increase, maintain, or de-tox. (You should be able to back up your physical ailment with medical proof of course.)
    When there are sites up with people discussing brands, crushing and shooting – give me a break – no wonder people are trying to stop the abusers. I’ve taken medication many years and don’t know this info. When I reach a tolerable level, I don’t want to increase, and haven’t.
    People – take personal responsibility. If you can do something – do it. If you can’t, or DON’T WANT to- don’t blame it on a pill. The second I am physically able to go – I’m moving. Maybe that’s why my husband has stayed with me 34 years. He sees that I try very VERY hard to have a life. And have tried to maintain an upbeat attitude, and that is very difficult, when besides pain, I have other physical ailments that make life and living difficult.
    To all the pain people – please don’t give up -keep looking for help.

  17. Oxycontin saved my live. I came down with a very bad case of osteomylytis in my left leg. I spendttwo weeks in the hospital and even with high doses of dilada they could not get the pain under control. The pain was absolutely horrible. As time went by, the pain subsided slighlty and I was given 180mg per day (60mg every 8 hours) of Oxycontin and 50mg of Oxycodone for breakthrough pain. I was able to go home!

    Without these two medications, I do not think I would have been able to live at home, I would have ended up in a nursing home. Fortunately my wife was there to take help of me. I admit I could not have done this on my own.

    Over time the pain began to subside as we got the infection under control. One day I noticed that I was taking Oxycodone for pleasure, not for breakthrough pain and I made the decision that I needed to cut back. You have take responsibility for what you are doing. NO one else can do it for you.

    So I asked my doctor how to taper back and was told to do it at a 20mg decrease every 3 days. I followed the instructions meticulously and did not have any significant problems. When I got down to 60mg per day I was switched to 10mg tablets and continued from there. It took a little over a month but I am now drug free with no cravings. I still have some residual pain that will have to be dealt with, but that can wait.

    My point is, there is a purpose for this medication and it can be very beneficial to those in great pain. Those of you who have not experienced such pain and condemn oxycontin for pain control are fools. Sure, Oxycontin can be abused, but for some it is a life saver. I have no respect for those who would ban the medicine outright as until they have walked in a pain suffer shoes, they really having nothing to contribute to the discussion. End abuse, but don’t ban an effective pain management medicine.

  18. Larry, your words mystify me. Are you saying that some people don’t live in excrutiating pain every single day?

    Yes, years ago I treated my pain meds like a lark. I loved the feeling and always ran out, weeks before I should have. I was an abuser.

    But now I am in a category that absolutely needs heavy narcotics.

    Larry, what is troubling me is the large amount of doctors who will prescribe the barest amount of pain med; even when years go by they will not raise it; often, if the patient upsets them, the doctor will abruptly cut them off.

    This is sadistic, but patients have no recourse. One reason is people like I used to be, the abusers jacking their pain scale upwards. We make it hard for others. But there is a group of patients…like me now…that absolutely needs pain relief at huge doses.

    I could recommend pain management, but most will not treat you unless you are in a bonafide state like terminal cancer, maybe, or your burned everywhere. They will turn you away. Back to your doctor who will not write more than twenty mgs a day.

    I think Randy has it right: many people not in pain embrace this smug attitude and look down on others as junkies. Larry, I hope you don’t get squashed in a car accident, or burned over your entire body, or your limbs torn off, but until that happens I think you will always maintain your narrowminded view. While I respect your right to it I certainly think it is totally wrong and harmful.

  19. Years ago when I first got oral cancer I loved to take oxycodone tabs. I would take three and be buzzed half a day, then take three more. Finally, I got to a point where I took fifteen a day, out of a script of eighty; needless to say I went through withdrawal every month until my next fill.
    About two years ago I noticed that even if I took fifty…yes, fifty…I got no buzz or pain relief. Now I could take a hundred…five hundred mgs…and nothing. Oxycodone does not affect me.
    Here’s the kicker: my oral cancer has advanced to the point where I have six months or less to live. The tumor has dramatically grown in my jaw and tongue. For two months it has gradually pulled my lower face leftwards and pushed me tongue upwards like Jack’s beanstalk. At times I am in excrutiating pain.
    I take ninety mgs of methadone three times daily, and hospice has me on a diluadid pump at a flow of six mgs and bolus of six mgs every six minutes.
    There is no more euphoria or real pain relief…unless I want to be totally zonked.
    I wonder, did methadone destroy the buzz of oxycodone? and fentynal? and liquid morphine? and diluadid pills? I lost my buzz when I began methadone for pain. Truthfully, I miss feeling high. I really do.

  20. One shouldn’t comment on functional addicts if they themselves have never been through pain management treatment. When your ignorance grabs hold and you want to make a comment about “getting by” and “living in denial” stop and think about the people who have no other choice and need to be in working condition to support families, or themselves. Take someone with crippling pain that struggles to be happy and not miserable in life look them in the eye and call them weak…. I guess my general point is everyone is different and some do not need it but take it and some really need it. So be kind and mind your own F***ing business.

  21. For all of you “drug addicts” that is what you all are if you condone this medications. Larry I love you, and all the others who are living in REALITY. I have lost friends and family to this drug and these people were NOT walking zombies. They were addicts who ONE night TOOK TOO MUCH. These pain Dr’s sit behind a desk and write scripts, bill $150 and then sell the pills. People are over medicated and not properly medicated. There needs to be regulations regarding this epidemic and I plan to personally spend my life lobbying for this !!!
    My daughter’s father has left her life – the most adorable, sweetest, smartest, precious little life for these drugs and if you think that if he was not addicted to this pills he would still do this you are wrong!!! Suck it Buttercup and get real with your lives. Your organs are compromised and polluted!! Eventually death will come to you and if you are “functioning addict” then you are a miserable person taking enough to “get by” but eventually you will succumb. You are not living and masking an issue with in your self. There are PLENTY of people walking around with chronic pain that find alternative methods….Stop living in denial!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. To all the people that have anything negative to say about the Opium plant or Oxycontin, the Bible should be re-written to stone YOU to death. The son of a bitches only allow working stiffs to run to Dunkin Fuckin Donuts or Tim Horton’s to get a caffeine jolt to deal with all the horrible crap we deal with on a day to day basis. And for what? To suffer in the end from cancer anyway?

    Heroin is the CURE for depression, cancer, life being absolutely horrendous, stock markets crashing… The only thing that keeps you people going is your credit cards. It gives you a feeling that you are actually winning the rat race.

    That quote from that Chinese guy came AFTER the Industrial Revolution. Now, we are at a point where every single company seemingly on the planet is filing for bankruptcy!! In other words, history is repeating itself.

    The government allows us stiffs alcohol, caffeine and that’s basically it. It’s a commie, police state.

    The Poppy is the most important plant in the world – and one of the most beautiful. Give a woman a $75 bouquet of roses and she creams her pants. Give her a poppy plant and she has no idea how important it is.

    People are on this kick to legalize marijuana. Marijuana should be legalized, but so should the poppy. Alcohol makes people violent. Heroin calms people down so that they love everyone; even their own enemies.

    Why did 400,000 troops get addicted to morphine? Hmmm, there’s gotta be a reason right? But if we were to call THEM junkies and the scum of the earth, we’d be contradicting ourselves now wouldn’t we? The people that “protected our freedom!!!” LOL. Ever wonder why exactly hundreds of thousands of troops are buried in FLANDERS FIELDS? It’s because if they had the choice, they would stick with the poppy over anything life has to offer.

    You Phd’s, doctor’s, pharmacists know jack shit about addiction. You think that people should “recover.”

    Some people just aren’t the type for marriage and family. People have to start realizing that. The television shows us pictures of how our lives are supposed to be. Babies, fast food, mini-vans, pink houses with 35 year mortgages, marriage etc. It’s all bullshit. There is NOTHING on this planet better than HEROIN. Love is a joke, marriage is a joke and even most families are broken nowadays. It’s all about MONEY.

    But the economy is all collapsing. People in the West are being forced to work for pennies and that’s not going to go over well when we are all used to making outstanding wages. Rents are outrageous and there is no reason to pay $1000 per month on a god damn APARTMENT in some city of 100,000,000,000 sheople driving around in a rat race for the same thing; money. People are going to turn to crime and the Welfare case load will skyrocket as the slavery spreads. This will tear families apart and they will reach for the Oxycontin bottle or the needle. And there is nothing better than that. Some oldtimers will stick to the bars and the shots of whiskey that just make you regret everything you did in your horrible Christian existence.

    For anyone who has had the pleasure of trying Oxycontin, you would all understand this. If not, then you had better have one hell of an inheritance to keep that gas called money, going.

    Peace in Afghanistan and Turkey.

  23. I have to disagree with the “addiction” people. I have taken oxycodone for 8 years. It has allowed me to have a life. For 4 years I had Am Surg. visits for 150 spinal blocks. The needles were 18 inches, not 12, so they could go through my spine into the pelvic cavity. It helped my pain immensely- it helped reduce the left side pain enough for me to realize the right side was in pain. The pain was so severe and widespread, I didn’t realize I had “sides” of pain. For 16 years after that I had THOUSANDS of local injections. In my abdomen, pelvis and back. The doctor became ill and prior to his leaving he gave me oxycodone. I began with 3 – 5 mg. a day. However, I have taken 5- 6 (5 mg) a day for years. It allowed me to exercise and increase my muscle strength. One cannot have thousands of local injections (still regular size needles), without also creating scar tissue, so these pills have given me a life of quality. If people are abusers, they will abuse, if not one thing – something else. To withdraw this med is absurd. I have used other meds, and they do not help me. Now I have stopped the medicine to perserve what little I have left for “dire” times. But I have my cane out -again. When someone uses the medicine for ACTUAL pain, you do not become addicted. Pain sucks it up. If I become crippled again, bent in half, barely able to walk, or back in bed with jerking and burning limbs, well why bother living? I won’t need the cane at that point. Oh, I have seen “psy” people. They always said I deal with the pain very well, and there is really nothing they can do to help me, I do it all already, so don’t tell me I’m depressed. It’s called reality and not only being crippled but in EXTREME UNRELENTING pain, that is incurable. I will not grow back nerves, body parts, so phooey on the “new therapies” spiel, been there, tried all the alternative therapies. I’ve fought to be alive, and survive. This med aided me living a life. I wonder if the theory of $$ is correct. It is a generic drug, that is inexpensive. Shame on the FDA for removing it. I really don’t care if there are dust bunnies in the pill, or whatever. I can sit behind a bus and be killed by fumes faster.

  24. i am only 20. i got addicted to oxy contin started with pain from tearing my rotator cuft.. my mom started giving me methadone for pain when perks and vic’s just weren`t working for my pain. from there it went to oxy. eventually was taking 180 220 mg. but i guess i am just smart or something for my age and realizeed it was messing up my family and my life period.. but people gave me advice on my situation, their peerspective really helped me!

    but you guys really helped me out also!! THANK YOU!!!
    its nice to have knoweldge befor you go and start doing something. or someone to guide you like a doc/councelor (preferablly who has been through same things.) (wish i would have!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!).

    But oxy made me learn knowledge is key!!! period.. good luck to everyone trying to get off them but you stick to it you can i’m LIVING proof….. oxy ruined my friends and my family life.. if your thinking about doing it or getting it prescribed make sure you talk to someone about a way out!

    thanks again for making this site… think it will save peoples lifes! you dont even know!

    everything happens for a reason!

    Good luck


  25. i was hooked on roxies, oxies, tabs and percos for about 6 years. my tolerance got to the point where i had to spend at least 100$/day. i would miss work everyday that i couldn’t buy any because people were out. it wrecked my life emotionaly and financialy. i lost it all in the end. finally, i had enough of it and i went to a methadone clinic. i was taking 130mg every morning. i have to say that methadone is worse on the soul than oxycontin ever thought it could be. i started to down my dose 10mg a week. finaly i got down to 5mg a day. my last day was christmas eve about 5 weeks ago. i have to say that coming off of oxys and roxys is a walk in the park compared to coming off of methadone. eventually, everyone that takes opiates ends up taking methadone in the end because everyone’s tolerance will become so high to oxycodone and hydrocodone. when that point is reached, good luck, because kicking the habit of methadone is considered by many6 the hardest drug ever used to come off of. i’m still in severe withdrawals after 5 weeks. insomnia, loose stool, sweats, tremors and depression. opiate addiction numbers are probably equal to cocaine and meth addicts. the government does’t want to change anything because it is a billion dollar industrty. from my experience, methadone clinics cause more harm than good. Randy, you haven’t had to experience the pain of addiction yet but wait. sooner or later it’s gonna be costing you 100+ dollars a day.

  26. Larry i love you! you know what i mean lol. great response to randy.

    randy i am 27 years old, i am an addict in recovery form these drugs. i don’t know how you can say you are addicted. do u know what addicted means? do u chase these drugs? if u didnt work 12 hour shifts and had no money, would you preform a crime or something completely demoralizing to another human for money to get these drugs? do u wait around after u took/snorted/shot/ate/whatever your dose and say damn i want more and use more, do you run short of meds for months on end? if you answered yes to these or any of those questions you may be addicted…

    if not then, can you not go a day without taking an narcotic(based on opium plant) drug? do you get sick if u don’t have them? is Ur pain getting worse throat the years? if u answered yes to any of those questions you may be just dependent on the opiates. if you are only ONLY! dependent on these drugs then you cannot say that you are addicted to these drugs and change the subject cause they work for you. what is gonna happen when Ur tolerance skyrockets so high that you need Mg of methadone to “kill” the pain? are the doctors even helping Ur pain? or when the pill wears off is it right back? thats not medical care, thats just numbing it away. they need to fix the problem.

    in my mind taking an opiate so that you can have no pain to work 14 hours is like a mother giving her 10 year old a Ritalin so he can chill out in class. its not fixing the problem. but doctors don’t see that. you may be the victim of horrible medical care. this may be the only thing you know.

    but i can tell you that there is life outside of opiates.

    and the pharmacist/addict who wrote the book. I’m gonna buy it soon. also suboxone is the ONLY drug since methadone that has even given opiate addicts a shot at normal life. they are not drugging their lives away. if u don’t take suboxone and u are an opiate addict like i am then Ur lucky man. trust me you are freaking lucky. each person has their way. i noticed u got Ur book title out of the AA big book :-p thats the only other place i seen that phrase u used as a title.

    but yea suboxone is a miracle drug for some people, sure the people that just stay on it and don’t fix their lives and those that sell it make a bad example but i can show you people that give suboxone a great name and that are normal humans now instead of pill seeking beasts. do some research on it and learn about it before you put it down. its easer to put something down than to do the work to learn about it. why do u think recovery is put down , cause addicts are lazy they don’t want to learn about the steps and how to recover, so they bash it, cause its the easer softer way. if u actually see how bupe works and what it does for people and how it acts on the brain as an antagonist/agonst(not the naloxone either cause its inert, only active in blood) its simply amazing. and if u observe people on it, they aren’t high or nodding out or seeking drugs. they are normal, productive people. u don’t have this with any other treatment including methadone. so this is truly a landmark. sure some docs make $$$ off of it. but some docs help people to become people again. but allot of people don’t see suboxone this way, thats cause it is just easer to bash it.

  27. As a practicing public school psychologist who regularly comes in contact with teens currently addicted to opiates or abusing prespection painkillers, I agree wholeheartedly with Larry’s perspective. In the 15-19 yr old population, it is frequently considered a “party drug”. What is not communicated by the drug companies nor effectively by our schools or public health officials is the propensity for addiction that these prescription drugs have. I am closely aligned with our public school systems which are charged with providing education on illicit drugs and I have found the inclusion of prescription drugs is still greatly lacking. What is so unnecessary is the devestation drugs such as Oxycontin have on unsuspecting children who become addicted in their formative years and find themselves no better off than the stereotypical heroin addict that is strung out in an alley. This is a serious epidemic, particularly in places such as where I reside and practice (Tampa/ St Petersburg, Florida). I have listened to Mr. Golbom’s radio show and his perspective is entirely accurate and needed to counter the ignorant attitude of the FDA and many public health officials. I applaud Mr. Golbom for his show and for speaking up on what will likely become a national trajedy in years to come.

  28. Interesting….and although the ‘black market’ for oxycontin is not really alive here in The Netherlands i would like to share my point of view, as an ex-oxycontin-addicted-and-chronic pain sufferer….
    After a long (two months) and hard struggle I’m off Oxycontin now for three months!
    I was a chronic pain sufferer, very addicted and still in pain although I took 5x 40mg a day. I just had to call my doctor of the pain clinic to get a description….

    I’m 47 years old and I knew something had to change and this addiciton was the first thing what had to go….
    My new family doctor would help me to find another pain killer and find a good therapy to stand the pain when I was off the Oxycontin…

    Now, three months later, I am not in pain anymore. I walk and exersize again and enjoy life. What was causing this chronic pain all those eight years then????
    Trauma’s which were not processed……. Wrong therapy because of new discoveries in Physiotherapy…..
    If I hadn’t stopped this addicition, I had never found out there was a possibility to heal…. to get treatment in a way which was good for me.
    If I hadn’t stopped this addiction i’d know my character would have been changed for ever, my emotions blocked but, ok….without pain.
    But my pain is gone now too, although it will take at least a year to heal properly.

    I’m ‘clean’! It’s good to pay attention to this epidemic of Oxycontin addiction. Of course I’m glad there is a solution for all these chronic pain patients who also have a right to live without pain.
    But even when you are addicted chronic pain patient…… give yourself, your body and your relatives a chance to take every chance to get a normal life…..
    Every day new treatments and new medications are being developed. Maybe one of them suits you!!

    And all them who take Oxycontin as a ‘party drug’? Grow up….. and count your blessings while you’re still healthy….

    I wish you a happy and healthy 2009!

    The Netherlands – Europe

  29. Since Randy attacked me personally, I feel compelled to answer. Randy’s response is typical of what is fostered by the mavens of the drugs and the pain industry. The direct answer to my article about “an opium epidemic” is diffused by deflecting to other important issues. Children dying from starvation and Palestinians and Jews killing each other are issues of our day and important. However, that is not what I wrote about.

    It is interesting that Randy is concerned about the injustices around the world, but “why should you care” about the deaths being created from the opium plant in your community. I am saddened that Randy appears in personal denial of a medical condition apparently being treated wrongly.

    I am sorry Randy, but I have never talked to an addict who has left the denial stage and said: “they would rather be addicted”. If you care about people as much as you claim, you will come clean with your mental attitude and condition and begin to help the people within your own community on the dangers and pitfalls the opium related drugs bring to one’s family and life. Your attitude and misery reflects what the opioids will create in long term use. I am appreciative of your response. Larry

  30. The question comes down to addiction versus chronic pain. I would rather be addicted than to live with this chronic pain that puts me down. At least with “The Meds” I can still work 12 to 14 hour shits going on years now. Sure there are addicts that abuse the system, so what, why should you care? 20,000 children die every day from starvation I don’t see you caring about that. Thousands Palestinians are murdered and maimed everyday from the terrorist state of Israel! Do you care about that? My point it this is a non issue, no one is forcing anyone to take pain meds, that should be between the Doctor and the patient, you just have too much time on your hands and want to stir up conflict to peddle your ignorent story! Until you live with chronic pain stay out of it.

  31. Conjecture? Are you kidding? Decades of practicing pharmacy backed up by statistics and history can hardly be defined as conjecture.

    I’ve been practicing pharmacy less than half the time Larry has and I’ve seen it too. I practiced in eastern Kentucky for 4 years and watched a significant number of that region’s population come in month after month for their Lortab and Oxycontin (among other things) while they waste away in addiction and/or dependency. Now I’m watching doctors in that region write for Suboxone prescriptions under the guise of treating opiod dependence. MD’s are the new drug dealers. They see patients for cash under the table and write these desperate addicts 2 weeks of Suboxone to keep them doped up and withdrawl free for another 14 days until they come back to Dr. Dopeman writes another one. I’m sick of watching these people waste away.

  32. This is another excellent commentary by the host of the nation’s only radio program which has addressed the crisis of prescription drug addiction and its progressively increasing destructive impact on our society. Why is it so difficult for people in positions of leadership and responsibility to have avoided the ‘rational’ discussions about this epidemic that Larry Golbom has been calling for over the last two years, as the toll of addiction, crime, overdose and death continues to mount? Since we know that the FDA has been provided with these statistics as well as scientific studies confirming the LACK of good evidence that prescription opioids are actually effective LONG-TERM treatments for most types of chronic non-cancer pain, then the conclusion becomes clear that the FDA has been overly-influenced by the interests of the opioid corporate cartel, and not by the public interest which they are mandated to protect. It can only be hoped that the new Administration will recognize this lack of regulatory oversight which has permeated this nation and take major steps to correct it; thereby starting to reduce the unacceptable volume of American lives ruined or lost to this scourge.

  33. When pain originates from a condition(s) which can’t be cured such as cancer,
    rheumatoid arthritis, MS, and other incurable maladies which cause severe pain,
    aspirin and a pat on the back is without argument insufficient.
    So,what are those who have lost a normal life to pain, and are spending every waking moment in a living hell to do ?
    Opioids have been used for at least 2500 years to help reduce the most noxious signals the body can send to the brain. People who suffer from chronic intractable pain have enough problems as is, and certainly don’t need to be categorized with addicts and drug abusers.
    Why should the chronic pain patient or the wounded soldier suffer one iota of extra pain because of legal scrutiny ? Well, they do, but, shouldn’t have to. What would go a long way to help control abuse until we find ways of pain control that don’t create an abuse component is:
    A) Mandatory pain-management classes in med schools and certification of MD’s who care for patients with chronic intractable pain.
    B) A change in where the lions share of the resources are spent in attempting to
    control drug abuse, and, that is at the drug manufacturer, delivery, off-shore and rouge pharmacies, and warehousing levels. The vast majority of drug diversion occurs on a level that is inaccessible to the MD/patient. Illegal pharmaceuticals are diverted on a higher rung of the ladder than the MD’s office.
    C) Rethink prohibition, Holland has 50% of the drug use/abuse per capita than America.
    D) Allocate more money for research of drugs that help abate pain but don’t create the euphoria that is sought after by the abuser. Finance research that seeks to find
    addiction-less pain medication.
    E) Create incentives for people to never use alcohol, as in truth, it is the gateway drug for the abuse of other drugs.
    More people are killed by “health” issues created by the use/abuse of alcohol every year than die from drug abuse. So, how is it we encourage alcohol and condemn other drugs when the legal drug does so much damage ? What message does this send to our youth?

    There is much more we can do than just arrest and incarcerate the drug user/abuser in a society that put men on the moon in the 60’s.

  34. As the director of Novus Medical Detox, we see every day the ravages caused by this new opium epidemic. To anyone that thinks Mr. Golbom is exaggerating or only speaking about isolated cases, I can assure you that there the actual human suffering is even more severe. I have spoken in high schools where OxyContin was considered a safe “party” drug. Invariably, after I am finished speaking there will be a young person or two who will relate that a classmate overdosed on OxyContin and died or was arrested and now has a criminal record.

    This is an epidemic and if we don’t wake up we will find our nation sharing the fate of the Chinese who were kept docile with opium for many years.

    Steve Hayes
    Novus Medical Detox Center

  35. Mr. Golborn’s statements on this epidemic are excellent. Oxycontin is the most glaring example today of the FDA’s failure to act appropriately to protect the public interest. After the successful prosecution of Purdue Pharma execs in Virginia a different response was expected. But that was only an over-estimation of the quality of the FDA and the protection afforded us by our government.

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