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Opana: Newest Prescription Painkiller Being Abused in Rural Areas


Opana, a powerful opioid, is increasingly being abused in rural America, Reuters reports.

At least nine people have died so far in 2012 from prescription drug overdoses in Scott County, Indiana, and most of the deaths involved Opana.

Low-income people and those living in rural areas are at particular risk of prescription drug overdoses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Law enforcement officials report that Opana abuse began after OxyContin was reformulated in 2010, to make it more difficult to snort or inject. Opana is more potent, per milligram, than OxyContin, making it potentially more deadly, the article notes. Many people who abuse Opana do not realize how strong it is.

People using Opana to get high crush the drug and either snort or inject it. It is an extended-release pill, so crushing it releases the drug all at once. “This Opana pill has really kicked us in the rear,” Indiana State Police Sergeant Jerry Goodin told Reuters. “We’ve never seen an addiction like this.”

While some people who abuse Opana buy them from “pill mills,” others get them from their doctors, or buy them from elderly people who have a prescription for the pills.

Endo Pharmaceuticals, which makes Opana, has announced it is reformulating the drug. The pill will be more difficult to crush, and will turn gooey if liquid is added to it. There has been an increase in pharmacy robberies by people seeking the current formulation of Opana pills since the reformulation was announced.

Opana is prescribed for chronic back pain, as well as pain related to cancer and osteoarthritis.

2 Responses to this article

  1. Avatar of Therese
    Therese / April 15, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    My prior message was sent prior to cmpletin it as I accidentally hit the wrong key.
    My doctors worked with a variety of pain medications, and all of them caused problems, not the least of which was spending 8 days, intubated, in intensive care.
    For the past three months it has been extremely difficult to find the IR tablets. The e r tablets cause me to feel naseous, but the I R tablets make it impossible for me to sleep. Hence, I take the ER at night.
    The Opana help line called around for a day, attempting to find a pharmacy for me to fill the 56 IR tablets, without success.
    I was able to find 13 IR tablets at Walgreen’s.

    I personally feel it is dangerous that you aren’t shipping, as it forces withdrawal, and I believe that can be as, or more dangerous as the fools that can’t, or refuse to fllow prescrbing information.
    I am disabled, and. recently lost my mother who I was supporting. I can’t get prescriion assistance, and this drug is so expensive, I can’t afford to feed myself, but it is the only medication of this type that has not created some serious reactions.
    It is April, and I am already in the gap, and I have filled out your form for assistance and was told that because I am on a medicare advantage plan you are unable to provide assistance as you don’t work with medicare patients.
    My finances are extremely limited, and maybe I shouldn’ have hekped my mother, who made a whopping $600 a month on medicare.
    Attempting to get this drug AND pay for it has created such anxiety, I feel absolutely hopeless.
    If you have any news regarding any of my needs I would truly appreciate any assistance.
    Thank you,
    Therese (Terri) Engdahl

  2. Avatar of EB
    EB / March 27, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    This is ridiculous. Opana is not new. Real chronic pain patients use it to live a normal life. Idiots abuse it and it gets reformulated to the point it doesn’t work. If someone died on it and they werent supposed to be on it then frankly it’s their own fault regardless of their age. It’s not fair to people who actually need this medication. At this point I am glad some moron died abusing it. They should know better. It’s not endos fault. It’s not a drs fault and it shouldn’t be taken out on the people who use it as prescribed.

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