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How many American adults are addicted to Oxycontin type drugs?

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tridim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 03:21 PM
Original message
How many American adults are addicted to Oxycontin type drugs?
I'm thinking it's much higher than everyone knows. I've personally had two friends who were addicted. One died, not as a direct result of the drug, but very much indirectly. The weird thing is, I had no idea they were using the drug until they got caught and went to rehab. My theory is that there are millions of untreated addicts out there, maybe 10's of millions. This would explain alot, because when opiates become the opiate of the masses, civilizations can crumble.

Are there any independent studies out there that aren't sponsored by big-pharm or the government?
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clydefrand Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 03:24 PM
Response to Original message
1. None in this household of 2
But I have a sister-in-law who is a recovering alcoholic--well, she was a couple of years ago--takes it. I can't imagine a doctor giving someone with this penchant for addiction that medicine. She too is in FL like the Rush guy!
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Mojambo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 03:28 PM
Response to Original message
2. I've been on them before
They are SUPER addictive. I very much wanted to keep taking them and had noticeable withdrawl when I ran out.

I can very much see how a person might try to steal or aquire these things illegally.
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Jacobin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 03:29 PM
Response to Original message
3. Here is some info on Oxycontin addiction problems


OxyContin, marketed in 1996 by Purdue Pharma L.P., was the first product capable of giving 12 hours of pain relief, making it the longest lasting oxycodone product on the market. OxyContin was initially available in 10-, 20-, and 40-milligram (mg) strengths. In 1997, an 80-mg tablet was introduced and later followed by a 160-mg tablet in 2000.1 Purdue Pharma L.P. also produces OxyFast, an immediate release liquid formulation containing 20-mg of oxycodone. Other pain medications such as Percocet, Percodan, and Percodan-Demi, which contain 5, 4.5, and 2.25 mg of oxycodone respectively, only provide short periods of pain relief (4 to 6 hours) and have to be taken at repeated intervals.

Beginning in 1996, the first full year it was marketed, the number of OxyContin prescriptions rose to approximately 5.8 million prescriptions in 2000. This makes OxyContin the number-one prescribed Schedule II narcotic in the United States. Prescriptions dispensed for all other common opiod analgesics such as codeine, hydrocodone, morphine, and hydromorphone have risen 23 percent during this same period.

http://www.usdoj.gov/dea/pubs/intel/02017/02017.html

Bad stuff when abused. Very bad.

Drug companies are making zillions off the illegal sales, too
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tridim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 03:34 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. That graph..
Looks like Oxycontin use is almost doubling every year. Extrapolating to 2004, that's 96 million prescriptions. See what I mean, it's a huge problem.
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DemBones DemBones Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 05:17 PM
Response to Reply #3
27. OxyContin sales went up because it's a better drug for control of

chronic pain. It's better because it's a timed-release drug. People with chronic pain take OxyContin as prescribed and don't get high from it.

People taking OxyContin to get high don't want a timed-release but a rush, so they crush the pills and snort the powder or mix it with liquid and inject it. Not surprisingly, because they take too much and take it improperly, they get addicted.

It's unfortunate that some people have a desire to abuse drugs. They need help. They won't be helped by denying decent pain control to people who suffer from chronic pain and have no desire to abuse drugs.
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DoYouEverWonder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 03:37 PM
Response to Original message
5. I'd guess most freepers
and rabid fundies are on some kind on mind altering perscription meds.

But what would a crazy old pothead know?
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 03:38 PM
Response to Original message
6. Well, first you need to differentiate addiction from dependence
They're completely different animals altogether. People who use opioid pain control responsibly and according to directions will have physical symptoms if the drug is withdrawn suddenly, but won't have the cravings that do so many addicts in.

Addiction can best be summed up by the AA line, "One is too many, and a thousand isn't enough." Addicts are chasing an elusive high, always just out of reach, which is why their use of opiates (and other addictive drugs) tends to increase rapidly. People using them legitimately for pain control tend to increase their dosage as they become dependent on the drug, but much more slowly. For reasons we don't yet understand, pain patients do not tend to get high.

A study of patients in Boston in the 80s reported that out of 10,800 patients receiving opiate pain medications, only four developed new addictions. That's a pretty impressive statistic.

I wish someone would study the brain chemistry of people who use opiates without going on to addiction, but I suspect the DEA wouldn't like any of the answers.

The per capita addiction rate has not changed from the old days when tincture of opium (laudanum) was an over the counter drug, to today, when we have Draconian sentences and militarized interdiction of drugs, as well as eradication programs intruding into other countries. I also suspect, that judging from the UK experiment of giving hardcore addicts their drug of choice and also from years of seeing even post surgical patients display classic drug seeking behavior when their pain control wasn't under their control, that the illegality and lack of a steady supply may actually contribute to addiction.

I would far rather see the billions wasted on the drug war be turned into rehab for the people who run into trouble. Yes, there are a few folks out there who are unlucky enough to be addicts, and many of them have turned to Oxy when they can get it since it's safer than black tar heroin. However, what we're now doing aint working. It's high time to try something else.
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comradebillyboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 03:38 PM
Response to Original message
7. i am not, but would like to be
any suggestions on where i can get some
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HEIL PRESIDENT GOD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 03:47 PM
Response to Reply #7
12. Do like my homeless homies do
Walk in front of a moving car. It's not a settlement they're after...
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DemBones DemBones Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 05:19 PM
Response to Reply #12
28. Mocking the homeless? Sounds like a RW comment. nt
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HEIL PRESIDENT GOD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 06:56 PM
Response to Reply #28
37. When I say homies I mean it
Name five homeless drug addicts that you are actually friends with before you call me a right winger.
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blondeatlast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-21-04 08:09 PM
Response to Reply #7
48. I get plenty of offers in my e-mail... nt
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mstrsplinter326 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 03:39 PM
Response to Original message
8. alternet had a study, oxycontin will not be the second crack
Oxycontin is not crack. it is not enslaving small town america, nor the streets. Why that's a popular myth remains unknown to me.
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tridim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 03:44 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. Then why did my friends risk
their jobs, their friendships, their families, their child and their own lives to take the drug? Sounds exactly like crack to me, although it's probably slightly harder to acquire. It's crack for the have-more's.
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BGAL1965 Donating Member (277 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 03:43 PM
Response to Original message
9. Caffine is addictive too. Would you wish it banned?
Millions of people depend on oxycontin for pain control. I am one of those people. As with any opiate like medication there is high risk of addiction. But the question must be asked,what is the quality of life that the potential user has because of the pain they suffer. Will the improvement in their quality of life outweigh the potential for addiction they will face. In my case the answer is quite simple my quality of life is so much better after taking oxycontin that i do not care if i have become addicted. My doctor constantly monitors my use and i receve only a 30 day supply at a time. I must return to the doctor for renewal of my prescription and i take the lowest dosage available. Wiithout the oxycontin the pain i experience is so severe that i am unable to do the simplest things. With the oxycontin i am able to have a relatively normal life and do most of the things everyone who is pain free takes for granted. So before i hear another call to wipe out the scourge of oxycontin i ask you to think of what that drug means to people like me and the others who suffer even greater pain.
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tridim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 03:45 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. I don't think Oxycontin should be banned
Where did you get that idea?
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laruemtt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 03:48 PM
Response to Original message
13. i do med transcription
for a pain center and i can tell you it's rampant. the docs i work for do their best to monitor it, but it really must be like heroin to some people.
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maxsolomon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 03:55 PM
Response to Original message
14. the war on drugs is going swimmingly
do 'anti-drug' types who are taking opiates for pain realize the hypocrisy?

nope.
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blurp Donating Member (769 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 03:58 PM
Response to Original message
15. How about letting individual decide for themselves? My body, my choice.
These scares are just the sort of thing right-wingers point to when they talk about "saving society" from drug use.

Oh no! We have to tell people what they can and cannot put in their bodies!

It's BS.

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Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 04:01 PM
Response to Original message
16. You're perpetuating a myth...
...and Ashcroft loves you for it.

- Those taking drugs like oxycontin (time released opioid) are taking them for chronic, intractable pain and statistics show that a very small percentage of them become 'addicted'. Americans need to stop being so naive and helping drug warriors like Ashcroft prosecute doctors for treating pain and persecuting pain patients for getting relief.

- You should have done your own research before posting such ignorance.
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blurp Donating Member (769 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 04:02 PM
Response to Original message
17. During and ALS test, this issue came up.
A doctor and I actually got into a discussion about oxycontin during a test for ALS (negative result-whew).

He said that, yes, there was abuse, but that there were many people taking the drug that are terminally ill with cancer and in constant pain.

In my opinion, the existance of abusers shouldn't force the terminally ill to suffer without the drug.
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Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 04:11 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. You're absolutely right...
...and it's disgusting the way some people throw the term 'addiction' around as if they know what the hell they're talking about.

- There are literally millions of cases of UNDERTREATED chronic pain in the US because people like the thread author throw silly accusations around without thinking. This very kind of thinking scares the shit out of doctors and forces them into a position of playing it safe and reject treating chronic pain.

- As one pain specialist put it: "Drug addicts want to escape life, a pain patient wants to live it."

- It's strange that in our empty-headed society...some worry more about addiction than they do the suffering of millions of Americans that can't get treatment for their pain.
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tedoll78 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 05:55 PM
Response to Reply #18
35. Amen!
I'm in a radiography program; I see people in pain in each day of my clinical rotation, and I'm one of the first to speak-up to their nurse when they're hurting.

Not only does it make their lives a bit better.. it also makes getting a clear x-ray image a bit easier, which makes their chances of diagnosis and cure/treatment better.

Undertreatment of pain should be a crime!
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tridim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 04:18 PM
Response to Reply #17
19. I agree fully.
But I think the millions of opioid addicts need to be treated for their problem.

Of COURSE I have no problem with giving effective drugs to patients who really need them. You guys are missing my point. I'm talking about addicts who don't need to take the drug for pain.
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Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 04:40 PM
Response to Reply #19
20. Those taking the drug when not in pain..
...are doing so illegally. It's very doubtful that they're getting this drug from physicians and more than likely are getting it from some black market source. These drugs are tightly monitored and the patient is given only 30 at a time and must pick up a new prescription each month from the physicians office.

- It's irresponsible and plain bullshit to say there are 'millions of addicts'. You can't prove such hyperbole and you know it. Any drug or substance can be abused. Very few pain patients abuse their drugs, sell or give them away because their very life depends upon them.

- When you talk about addiction...you need to make the distinction between those who are legally prescribed pain meds and those who get them from illegal sources. The problem with your generalities is that you seem to suggest that everyone who takes oxycontin or similiar drugs are in danger of addiction. That's simply not true.

- The end result of this hysteria is that doctors treating legitimate pain patients are intimidated by law enforcement looking for 'pill pushers'. But just as there are very few pain patients that become 'addicted'...there are few doctors that would risk their careers by writing illegal prescriptions. Suggesting that there are 'millions' of oxycontin addicts plays into this myth and reinforces people's negative attitudes about treatment for pain.
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Wind Dancer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 04:59 PM
Response to Reply #20
21. Well said!
There are far too many horror stories of people who are denied any type of narcotic medication for chronic pain due to the ongoing myths about drug addiction.

People who take it legitimately fear being labeled or become ashamed of their illness - that leads to even more problems like depression, insecurity, etc.
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Nikia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 05:03 PM
Response to Reply #20
22. I got Oxycotin quite easily when I had a kidney stone
I only ended up taking a couple. I made the mistake of telling a few people that I got them. Several people wanted to buy them from me. When I got Vicadin, when I had my wisdom teeth out, that was also true. Evidently there is a bit of a black market around here and not all pharmacists and doctors are above participating it in as well.
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redsoxliberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 05:10 PM
Response to Reply #22
24. me too (oxycontin)
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redsoxliberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 05:11 PM
Response to Reply #22
25. me too (oxycontin)
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redsoxliberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 05:11 PM
Response to Reply #22
26. me too (oxycontin)
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DemBones DemBones Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 05:32 PM
Response to Reply #22
29. I don't think kidney stones meet the criteria of chronic pain

that OxyContin is for. I think that would be acute pain, for which there are other drugs that do a better job.

Doctors should know better.

:shrug:
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Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 05:33 PM
Response to Reply #22
30. Doctors shouldn't prescribe oxycontin for 'acute' pain...
Edited on Mon Sep-20-04 05:35 PM by Q
...and your 'kidney stones' would qualify as that type of pain. Your doctor should have prescribed a short acting drug like Lortab. Oxycontin is a time-released opioid and can only be 'abused' by taking it against doctors orders.

- Tell those who want to buy them from you to go to hell. They are not for recreational use.

- And once again...it's irresponsible of you to suggest that doctors are 'not above' participating in the black market. You're simply speculating. Oxycontin is among the most watched drug on the market. It would be literally impossible for a doctor to prescribe it to other than pain patients. Few legitimate pain patients would sell their drugs.

- You're spewing more BS based on a personal experience of friends offering to buy your drugs and then go off into some fantasy about doctors and pharmacists participating in the black market. If people are getting oxycontin illegally...they're not getting it from doctors or pharmacists.
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jus_the_facts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 07:32 PM
Response to Reply #30
39. that definition of *acute pain* from a kidney stone is far from accruate..
Edited on Mon Sep-20-04 07:37 PM by jus_the_facts
.....it actually depends on if you're passing it or if it's stuck in the urninary tract....there IS a difference! :eyes:
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Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 07:55 PM
Response to Reply #39
44. Acute pain is something that can be resolved...
...with time or intervention. A kidney stone can be removed surgically and will bring a resolution to the pain. It is most definately 'acute' pain in the strictest sense of the word and should be treated with short acting pain meds for a limited period of time.

- Chronic pain generally can't be resolved with surgery or other interventions. Cancer patients and those with neurological/orthepedic or degenerative disease, failed surgeries and trauma would most likely benefit from a long acting pain med.
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jus_the_facts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 08:04 PM
Response to Reply #44
46. well unless you've had a stone stuck in the urinary tract....
....in which a short acting pain med wouldn't touch the pain...then you've not much room to make such claims...especially when the body has completely shut down because of the blockage to the point of gas in the bowels being seen in an x-ray....there are exceptions for every rule...that is the point.
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TexasSissy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 05:04 PM
Response to Original message
23. I don't even know what that is.
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Ladyhawk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 05:35 PM
Response to Original message
31. There are two drugs I'm on that I suspect I might be addicted to.
The past month has been very stressful for me and I found that I needed to take more than the prescribed dosages for them. Last month it was one drug. This month it was the other.

One drug makes me sleep. The other drug is an anti-anxiety drug.

I have chronic pain due to herniated discs in my neck and possibly in my back. When I'm in a lot of pain, all I can do is sleep.

Having to deal with my mother during my move was almost more than I could take, so I took more anti-anxiety pills than prescribed.

My doctor already knows about the increased anxiety, but he doesn't know how I've been dealing with the pain. We need to have a little talk, methinks.
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Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 05:40 PM
Response to Reply #31
32. Ask your doctor if he knows the difference...
...between acute and chronic pain. Herniated discs suggest chronic pain and your doc may be giving you short-acting pain meds that don't work long enough...forcing you to take another pill. Many doctors are ill informed about chronic pain and don't understand the issues of tolerance and titration when it comes to using opioids.

- You may be building up a tolerance to the shorter acting drugs. You're not addicted...your pain is undertreated.
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Julien Sorel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 05:41 PM
Response to Original message
33. I have enough of them in my medicine cabinet
to keep Rush smiling for a few weeks. They were prescribed to me for my back, but all they do is put me to sleep, so they rot. I have them all: Oxy, percodan, percocet, vicodin, ultram -- it's amazing how eager doctors are to prescribe that garbage instead of actually treating you. It's no wonder people get addicted to the stuff.
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sugarcookie Donating Member (563 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 05:46 PM
Response to Original message
34. I know someone
who lost almost everything for thier Vicodin problems. It was so bad the wife was going from doctor to doctor getting prescriptions for the husband. She had been in a car accident so I guess they didn't question her motives for needing the painkillers. He had a good job, they had a nice house on the river, etc. Then for some reason he got sent for a drug screening at work. He was fired immediately. They have almost nothing now. They lost everything and both have to take whatever work and odd jobs they can find to make ends meet.
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Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 07:41 PM
Response to Reply #34
41. In other words...they were breaking the law...
...it was wrong of the man to ask his wife to get painkillers for him. It was wrong of the wife to agree to get prescriptions for him. It's against the law to take someone else's prescription...so I can't feel sorry for someone that knowingly breaks the law and makes it harder for legitimate pain patients to get treatment. If they have 'nothing'...it's their own fault.

- Those in need of pain treatment are being lumped together with the idiots you described. You can't blame the doctor or the drugs. It's time that people who abuse these drugs suffer the consquences instead of those who really need them.
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sugarcookie Donating Member (563 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 08:06 PM
Response to Reply #41
47. Hey, I agree with you...
my point was to show the lengths (including breaking the law) that some people will to get a "fix". They lost everything because he had to have his Vicodin.
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Blue Wally Donating Member (974 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 06:42 PM
Response to Original message
36. My son-in-law and my close friend
Both were prescribed Vicodin and Oxycontin for severe pain. My son-in-law was badly injured on the job and my friend had a really bad back. Both recognized that they were slipping into dependence and both, fortunately, were able to pull back. Both of them told me that it was pure hell weaning themselves from the drugs.
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Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 07:48 PM
Response to Reply #36
42. Dependence is much different than addiction...
Edited on Mon Sep-20-04 07:48 PM by Q
...because a chronic pain patient obviously depends on the drugs for relief. Addiction is characterized by taking a drug even though it's doing harm. Unfortunately...too many people tend to take such drugs when the pain goes away. This doesn't make them an addict either...just stupid.

- But chronic pain is different. Chronic pain patients HAVE TO take these drugs every day in order to live something close to a normal life. They have a 'dependence' on these drugs...but can't be called addicted because they are receiving treatment that brings positive results.
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jumpstart33 Donating Member (328 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 07:26 PM
Response to Original message
38. Far too many. The ones with money and access to Drs who won't turn
them in.
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Dark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 07:34 PM
Response to Original message
40. I'm sorry about your friends, esp the one who passed away.
As for the problem, there is one person I know who is addicted, but we're only acquaintances.
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smirkymonkey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 07:50 PM
Response to Original message
43. Well, at least one big, fat one.
Oh, wait, sorry. I guess he's thin now. Must have been the dope.
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Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-04 08:00 PM
Response to Reply #43
45. Pain specialists...
...suggest that Limbaugh was but one of the many victims of undertreated pain in the US. But he seemingly got away with something no poor pain patient can: doctor shopping and buying drugs in great quanities on the black market. Someone without money in the same position would be in jail.

- Those who abuse these drugs should be made to suffer...not those who take or prescribe them for legitimate purposes.
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