Oxycontin in the
Greater Sacramento Area:
As indicated by the Monitoring the Future Survey, Oxycontin has been on the rise nationwide. In our area we have witnessed this epidemic first hand as the number of our clients using this drug has dramatically increased. In my practice alone it represents 25% of my clientele. Most teens and young adults who are abusing this substance have a long history of substance abuse with marijuana, alcohol, Vicadin, ecstasy, etc. The users are paying up to $40.00 per 80 mg pill of Oxycontin and interestingly enough, I have not had any clients who primarily swallowed the pills for intoxication rather, they chop it up and snort it or injected with a syringe.
Oxycontin is a very addicting substance that hooks people both mentally and physically. Physically it feels good while they are on it, but once they come off of it they experience tremendous discomfort, pain, and a mental obsession to alleviate their symptoms by finding more Oxycontin to use.
“Oxy” side effects:
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
- shallow breathing, slow heartbeat
- seizure (convulsions)
- cold, clammy skin
- severe weakness or dizziness or
- feeling light-headed, fainting.
Less serious side effects are more likely to occur, such as:
- nausea, vomiting, constipation, loss of appetite
- dizziness, headache, tired feeling
- dry mouth
- sweating or
- back aches
- joint aches
This list is not complete and other side effects may occur.
In Addition to “Oxy”, another pain killer has been on the rise in the greater Sacramento area: Fentanyl.
· Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opiate analgesic similar to but more potent than morphine. It is typically used to treat patients with severe pain, or to manage pain after surgery. It is also sometimes used to treat people with chronic pain who are physically tolerant to opiates. It is a schedule II prescription drug.
· In its prescription form, fentanyl is known as Actiq, Duragesic, and Sublimaze. Street names for the drug include Apache, China girl, China white, dance fever, friend, goodfella, jackpot, murder 8, TNT, as well as Tango and Cash.
· Like heroin, morphine, and other opioid drugs, fentanyl works by binding to the body’s opiate receptors, highly concentrated in areas of the brain that control pain and emotions. When opiate drugs bind to these receptors, they can drive up dopamine levels in the brain’s reward areas, producing a state of euphoria and relaxation. Medications called opiate receptor antagonists act by blocking the effects of opiate drugs. Naloxone is one such antagonist. Overdoses of fentanyl should be treated immediately with an opiate antagonist.
· When prescribed by a physician, fentanyl is often administered via injection, transdermal patch, or in lozenge form. However, the type of fentanyl associated with recent overdoses was produced in clandestine laboratories and mixed with (or substituted for) heroin in a powder form.
· Mixing fentanyl with street-sold heroin or cocaine markedly amplifies their potency and potential dangers. Effects include: euphoria, drowsiness/respiratory depression and arrest, nausea, confusion, constipation, sedation, unconsciousness, coma, tolerance, and addiction.
Jon Daily, LCSW, CADC II