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OxyContin Abuse Update 010312

An Article By Terence T. Gorski
GORSKI-CENAPS Web Publications
Published On: <DATE>          Updated On: January 26, 2002
© Terence T. Gorski, 2001

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OxyContin Update (03-12-01)
News Analysis By Terence T. Gorski

On March 12, 2001 Roger Alford of the Associated Press posted another article from Hazard KY on the abuse and addiction potential of the pain killer OxyContin (street name Oxy).[i]  This news report repeated factual information contained in a previous news release posted by the Associated Press (AP) on March 2, 2001 and added some emotionally powerful personal accounts of the damage done by OxyContin abuse and addiction.

Alford makes a strong case for the human pain caused by the abuse and addiction potential by referencing the personal experiences of: 

∑      Norma Ratliff whose son was shot to death by two men who rifled through his pockets looking for OxyContin;  

∑     Franklin McIntosh a former motorcycle shop service manager who was jailed after robbing a bank to fund his Oxy addiction; and 

∑      Cindy Fugate, whose mother, Sandra Fugate Riddle, died of an OxyContin overdose at a roadside motel while shooting up with friends.   Sandra Fugate was a caring and involved single parent who began using OxyContin, became preoccupied with her drug use, and distanced herself from her daughter and friends as she became more deeply involved the underground drug community in the months before her death.

He reports the following factual information: 

1.         The authorities in several states are voicing concern as more illicit drug users start to use and abuse OxyContin

2.         Officials from the drug enforcement efforts of five states and the federal government met with the drug's manufacturer, Purdue Pharma of Stamford, Conn., earlier this month to discuss solutions to the problems of OxyContin abuse and addiction.  No representatives from the drug treatment industry were present at this meeting. 

3.         At this meeting law enforcement representatives reported that since March of 2000,

A.        OxyContin is abused in one of two ways:  the tablets are ground into powder and snorted like cocaine; or the powder is mixed with water and injected it like heroin.

B.        The drug is popular because users report that it produces a high that is more euphoric than other narcotics

C.        OxyContin overdoses have resulted in at least 59 deaths in Kentucky's mountain region and 32 deaths in Virginia.

D.        There has been a significant increase in crimes, such as robberies of pharmacies, residential burglaries and bank heists, as users steal to feed their addictions.

E.        In February 2000 the Kentucky police arrested more than 200 people in a single day on OxyContin-related charges.  (The article was unclear as to the law enforcement methods used to identify and apprehend these OxyContin users or whether they were charged, arrested, and arraigned on the charges.  To arrest 200 people requires a major drug enforcement effort.  The cause for initiating this effort and the groups of people targeted for the enforcement efforts were not identified.)

4.         At that meeting Dr. J. David Haddox, senior medical director for health policy at Purdue Pharma, stated that:

A.        OxyContin is safe when used properly under a physician's supervision.

B.        Purdue Pharma wants to make sure that OxyContin is used for patients for whom it is appropriate and that it is not given to those who don't need it or who would abuse it

C.        Purdue Pharma is planning programs to educate health care providers about prescription drug abuse, and inform doctors about tamper-resistant prescription pads.

D.        Dr. Haddox did not reference efforts to educate health care providers about: 

(1)       Addiction screening tests that can be integrated into routine health care procedures

(2)       How to develop a referral network for patients who may have problem with prescription drug abuse or addiction

(3)       How to coordinate ongoing pain management treatment with addiction treatment for clients who have become dependent upon the drug.

5.         Dr. Art Van Zee of the St. Charles Community Health Clinic in Virginia reported to the Associated Press that the preventative measures don't go far enough. A Virginia physician.  He is circulating a national petition to ban OxyContin, even though he recognizes the benefits for patients with chronic pain.  He believes that the potential harm of the drug far outweighs itís clinical benefits as a pain killer.

On the Net: http://www.OxyContin.com

About the Author

Terence T. Gorski is internationally recognized for his contributions to Relapse Prevention Therapy. The scope of his work, however, extends far beyond this. A skilled cognitive behavioral therapist with extensive training in experiential therapies, Gorski has broad-based experience and expertise in the chemical dependency, behavioral health, and criminal justice fields.

To make his ideas and methods more available, Gorski opened The CENAPS Corporation, a private training and consultation firm of founded in 1982.  CENAPS is committed to providing the most advanced training and consultation in the chemical dependency and behavioral health fields.

Gorski has also developed skills training workshops and a series of low-cost book, workbooks, pamphlets, audio and videotapes. He also works with a team of trainers and consultants who can assist individuals and programs to utilize his ideas and methods.
Terry Gorski is available for personal and program consultation, lecturing, and clinical skills training workshops. He also routinely schedules workshops, executive briefings, and personal growth experiences for clinicians, program managers, and policymakers.

Mr. Gorski holds a B.A. degree in psychology and sociology from Northeastern Illinois University and an M.A. degree from Webster's College in St. Louis, Missouri.  He is a Senior Certified Addiction Counselor In Illinois.  He is a prolific author who has published numerous books, pamphlets and articles.  Mr. Gorski routinely makes himself available for interviews, public presentations, and consultant.  He has presented lectures and conducted workshops in the U.S., Canada, and Europe.  

For books, audio, and video tapes written and recommended by Terry Gorski contact: Herald House - Independence Press, P.O. Box 390 Independence, MO 64055.  Telephone: 816-521-3015 0r 1-800-767-8181.  His publication website is  


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