Officials Say Reformulation of OxyContin Has Increased Interest in Abuse of Other Narcotics
Now that OxyContin has been reformulated to make the opioid harder to snort, inject or chew, The New York Times reports that demand for other narcotics has increased.
OxyContin is designed to slowly release its main ingredient, oxycodone, over the course of 12 hours. But after it was introduced in 1996, people began chewing, or crushing and then snorting or injecting the drug, to get an instant high. Some areas of the country have seen high rates of OxyContin addiction, and abuse of the drug has led to many overdose deaths.
Now that the maker of the drug, Purdue Pharma, has made it more difficult to abuse, demand has risen for pure oxycodone pills in a 30-milligram dose, according to the article. Another time-release painkiller, Opana, is also becoming more popular as a drug of abuse. Police and rehab centers also report a sharp rise in heroin use.
While the old formulation of OxyContin sold for as much as $80 per 80-milligram pill on the street, a 30-milligram tablet of oxycodone sells for $20 to $30, the article states.
The Food and Drug Administration is requiring Purdue Pharma to conduct clinical trials of the new version of OxyContin, called OxyContin OP, before the company can say that it is less prone to abuse.