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Article Summary

History Of Oxycontin

Opiate drugs have become part and parcel of modern culture. This is because they are so woven into human history that they have become troublesome in the present. Some have also been included in the plans of the future, as a result of their close ties to pain management and medicine.

In particular, OxyContin has a variety of essential medical roles to play. However, since some people abuse it, it creates a bit of controversy and confusion especially with regards to the addiction menace that the drug has now come to be known for.

That said, the history of this opiate might make it difficult for you to realize how important it is for recovery and treatment. It is for this reason that some people find it difficult to speak up about the problems they are facing with OxyContin and eventually ask for the help they need to overcome its abuse and addiction.

If you have been abusing this medication, you might not have an idea about where it is manufactured and what it was designed to accomplish. In fact, most people who take it recreationally or against the instructions that came with their prescription never get to learn how it should be used.

Understanding the history of OxyContin, to this end, might be the first step you take to defeat your abuse of and addiction to the drug. This guide will provide you with a background on this history with the hope that you will be able to use this information to encourage yourself to get the help you need to overcome your addiction. Read on to find out more:

About Oxycontin

OxyContin is prescribed for the management of moderate, severe, and chronic pain. As a strong analgesic, however, it contains addictive ingredients that could cause you to develop tolerance and dependence to it.

Compared to the other opiate drugs - such as heroin - however, the history of OxyContin is quite short. In fact, the drug was only produced about 30 years ago. According to the information released by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), this history is quite limited.

To understand this history, you might first want to learn a little about oxycodone -the opioid from which OxyContin was derived. Oxycodone was first developed in 1916 in Germany.

At the time, it was designed as a better and safer alternative to the other opioids - including morphine, codeine, and heroin. This is because clinicians, doctors, and researchers had started noticing the addictive nature of these drugs, as well as the serious side effects they caused.

Therefore, oxycodone was created as a safer drug that could assist with pain relief. What most people did not know was that it could also prove to be quite as addictive and produce effects as adverse as the drugs it was formulated to replace.

Early History

Oxycodone is the active ingredient in every OxyContin pill. Since the 1960s, this drug has been considered to have a high potential for abuse and addiction. This is according to reports by the CSAR (Center for Substance Abuse Research).

At the time, oxycodone was actually classified as a dangerous drug by the UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime). As a direct result, its manufacture, distribution, sales, marketing, and use were controlled tightly.

In general, these controls were largely effective. This meant that the abuse of oxycodone was not quite as widespread as it is today. However, when OxyContin was released into the market, the story took an interesting turn.

Initially, OxyContin got FDA approval in 1995. It was designed as a slow release medication that could help people with severe pain. However, it was soon discovered that the drug propels some users to hop onto the rollercoaster of pain relief where they feel at peace and happy when they have the drug in their systems but suffer a recurrence of the pain they were trying to treat in between doses.

Since OxyContin is a time release medication, it works to smooth the pain experience and control pain in a consistent and relatively reliable way. However, its benefits for those suffering moderate to severe pain are exactly the reasons why most addicts find it so enticing.

Today, some users crush the OxyContin capsules and inject or sniff the powder. Others simply snort it - although this leads to a variety of adverse effects like perforated nostrils.

These forms of use often create a rush which compels some users to continue abusing the drug in search of the pleasurable experiences they derive when they take OxyContin through these modes of administration.

A well-known prescription medication, OxyContin also contains oxycodone. This drug is a derivative of opium, which has been around for centuries. However, oxycodone is a newer drug and has only been available for medical use for a couple of decades.

Over the course of its history, government officials and doctors have been recognizing the dangers that oxycodone carries. In fact, people started voicing their concerns about the drug as far back as the 60s.

These concerns led to research, and caused the United Nations to label oxycodone as an intoxicating and dangerous drug with a slew of risks and adverse effects - chief of which is abuse and addiction.

Later, it was classified as a Schedule II controlled substance by the United States. This means that the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) considers oxycodone as a drug that has a relatively high potential for misuse and abuse, which often leads to severe physical and/or psychological dependence.

Today, governments all around the globe have acknowledged the fact that oxycodone comes with many dangerous health risks and addiction issues. At first, however, awareness about the drug did not spread far - at least not beyond the policing organizations. This is because many people did not know about it or even use it for recreational and medical purposes. Things only changed after OxyContin hit the market.

OxyContin was first manufactured and marketed in the early 90s by Purdue Pharma. The company combined oxycodone with time release ingredients. In the process, they made their formulation the only opiate on the market with a promise of several hours of continuous pain relief.

In 1995, OxyContin received approval by the FDA. However, although some people discovered that it could provide them with extended relief from pain, others found that it was quite problematic.

As such, the medication was not quite as effective as most people had hoped. In fact, it left some in excruciating pain while many more started struggling with a new and never before seen substance use disorder and addiction.

According to the CSAR (Center for Substance Abuse and Research), the prolonged abuse and use of all oxycodone medications often changes the brain in ways that you cannot fathom. As a direct result, you might have a hard time quitting the drug on your own - which is a typical and classic sign of substance addiction.

Therefore, if you take the drug in doses larger than your doctor recommended or for extended time periods, you will likely develop addiction to it. This is a normal and natural psychological and biological response to using opiate drugs.

However, addiction is not the only risk that is now associated with OxyContin abuse. In fact, the drug has been contributing to the rapid increase in overdose deaths caused by prescription painkillers.

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), for instance, the rate of overdose deaths that involved both semisynthetic and natural opioids - including hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, and OxyContin - in 2014 was 3.8 for every 100000 deaths. These statistics make it the highest among all opioid overdose deaths.

Over the course of its history, more people started overdosing on OxyContin. To counteract these statistics, growing addiction, and the emerging overdose crisis, Purdue Pharma responded by effectively changing the drug.

In 2010, they reformulated the medication to make it difficult for users to crush and snort the pills. This was as a direct result of the spreading abuse of the drug during the first 15 years of its existence - a time when it was quite popular both for its medicinal value and for the recreational and non-medically purposes it had.

However, just because it is now more difficult to defeat the time-release mechanism of OxyContin pills, that does not necessarily mean that it is impossible. In fact, you don't even have to misuse or abuse these drugs to suffer an overdose or the other adverse effects and symptoms it causes.

After this reformulation, some users started switching to other intoxicating substances with similar effects while others looked for ways to work all the way around these changes.

The Creation Of Oxycontin

Oxycodone was first heard of in the United States in 1939. However, it was not until OxyContin was manufactured in 1996 by Purdue Pharma that the drug became more commonly place and people started using it - both medicinally and recreationally.

OxyContin has had its fair share of up and downs in the prescription medication industry. By 2001, however, it was reportedly the best-selling and performing narcotic pain killer in the country.

However, some people started abusing the drug at around this time as a way to achieve its pleasurable and relaxing effects. Since the medication was widely available, patients with extra pills from their prescription started selling them for profit. This eventually created the prescription drug addiction problem that it has grown into today.

Oxycontin's Historical Timeline

In the late 1800s and the early 1900s, there were efforts to create non-addictive opioid medications. In the 1890s, the Bayer Corporation (Germany) manufactured and heavily marketed heroin and became the frontrunner of the project to come up with an alternative with a lower or nonexistent potential for abuse. This was before heroin's addictive nature and dangerous effects were discovered.

After the United States banned heroin, oxycodone was created as a replacement drug by two German scientists. At the time, it was widely praised as the best semi-synthetic replacement or substitute for opium, morphine, and heroin.

Consider the following timeline in the history of oxycodone:

  • 1916 - Oxycodone is created as a substitute for more addictive and dangerous opioids.
  • 1939 - Oxycodone is introduced for the first time ever to the United States.
  • 1950 - Oxycodone is combined with aspirin to form Percodan; Percodan is eventually released as a prescription medication to American physicians and doctors.
  • 1963 - The AG (Attorney General) of California releases a report showing that Percodan abuse is at the core of 1/3 of all addiction cases in the state.
  • 1970 - The federal government lists oxycodone as a Schedule II drug through the Controlled Substances Act. The DEA defines Schedule II chemicals, drugs, and substances as those with a relatively high potential for abuse and eventual physical or psychological dependence and addiction. As such, oxycodone is considered to be dangerous.
  • 1974 - The FDA approves Percocet.
  • 1989 - The Texas Medical Board supports the wide use of painkillers for medicinal purposes. 14 other states follow suit.
  • 1996 - OxyContin is released by Purdue Pharma as a special oxycodone formulation, and marketed heavily as a replacement drug with a low/nonexistent potential for abuse and addiction.

The government originally approved OxyContin in 1995 but it was only officially launched for use in 1996. At the time, the general belief was that the existing opiate drugs commonly prescribed for managing chronic pain were widely abused for their recreational and pleasurable effects. Since OxyContin was a time release formulation, people thought that it would eliminate the recreational abuse of oxycodone by effectively eliminating its historically euphoric effects.

In 2000, Purdue carried out an extensive marketing campaign that was focused on physicians who prescribe pain relief medications and drugs to patients. The campaign promoted using OxyContin in the following ways:

  • For musculoskeletal pain
  • For pain relief after surgery
  • As the first line of defense against chronic pain of all forms
  • For providing pain relief to both cancer and non-cancer patients

The marketing and promotion included videos, medical journal pieces, and trade shows that were all directed at doctors.

Conclusion

By 2010, OxyContin netted profits in excess of $3.1 billion and accounted for 30% of all the painkiller sales. This was even though it started attracting widespread criticism from all fronts as well as massive lawsuits. This share of the market, however, was still impressive given that it was a newcomer drug in a class of medications with a history of more than 100 years in the United States.

To curb the critics, Purdue Pharma created a new formulation of their signature pain relief drug. The new OxyContin pills contained ingredients that were designed in such a way that they would prevent tampering. As such, it would be difficult to crush, break, or chew the tablets. Today, addicts can still take more pills of the drug to support their habits. However, they can no longer subvert OxyContin's time release properties by smashing it.

However, if you are addicted to the drug, this is just the sort of motivation you should use to encourage yourself to start getting help for your substance use disorder.

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