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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Painkiller Task Force is Charged with Curbing the Oxycontin Epidemic

Prescription meds as handy as our medicine cabinets
The children of today's world are faced with a new enemy, a threat that can be obtained legally throughout the world. Prescription medications can be obtained as easy as candy and are devastating the younger generations. The use of prescription medications has become quite common among teenagers and young adults; sadly, many do not understand how dangerous drugs like Oxycontin can be. Teenagers who see drugs like Oxycontin on the medicine cabinet shelves in their own home are some how led to believe that there is no harm in consuming a drug that was prescribed. People are just now starting to understand that drugs like Oxycontin are tantamount to heroin; the side-effects of consumption are just as devastating as heroin if used inappropriately. In San Diego County a task force was recently developed to combat this pain medication problem. The painkiller task force is charged with curbing the Oxycontin epidemic especially, this is a result of the numerous cases in the county involving the drug.

"Oxycontin, which is derived from Oxycodone, is a painkiller prescribed for moderate to severe pain. Oxycontin is a highly addictive opiate and can be lucrative for drug dealers, said Ralph Partridge, special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration's San Diego field office," reports the La Jolla Light. 200 Oxycontin related arrests in the San Diego area since last November has raised many concerns throughout the community. Kids as young as 12 years old have been experimenting with Oxycontin and similar drugs in the opiate family. Oxycontin can be sold for as much as a dollar a milligram which has led many drug dealers to see how lucrative the drug can be. Since Oxycontin does not carry the same stigmas as heroin it is more likely to be bought and consumed by young people; teenagers do not seem to understand that the risk of overdose is just the same as heroin.

Unfortunately, prescription medication can be a lot easier to hide from anyone who might be concerned. This allows continued drug use to go on with teenagers unchecked; by the time a problem is detected by loved ones it's usually too late because addiction has already tightened its grip. Most parents are not aware of the signs that they should be looking for or even worse choose to believe that there is no way their child could be caught up with drugs. According to the La Jolla Light, "children and teens who are hooked on Oxycontin don't 'meet your normal profile'. The average profile of an Oxycontin addict is 15 to 30 years old. It's not unusual for an addict to be a college student or an athlete, said Dr. Sean O'Hara an addiction specialist..." Oxycontin use among young people cannot be ignored any longer, it will only be a matter of time before other opiates like heroin come into the picture. The quicker a problem is identified, the faster it can be resolved; hopefully, states will work hard to educate young people about the serious effects of this drug.

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