Looking into the Oxycodone epidemic

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — 10 On Your Side is taking a harder look at why so many people have problems with the prescription pain killer Oxycodone.

According to The National Institute on Drug Abuse, when a person takes an opiate it activates the brain’s reward system. It decreases even the most excruciating pain and produces feelings of pleasure, relaxation, and contentment. That’s what can lead to addiction.

“It doesn’t take very long, within a week or two weeks, and you can start becoming dependent on those drugs,” said Thomas Lynch, PharmD, an associate professor at Eastern Virginia Medical School.OxyContin Oxycodone generic

Dr. Lynch told WAVY.com the Oxycodone user needs more and more of the drug as their body builds a tolerance. Many will do anything to get it.

On Monday, 10 on your side reported on two pharmacy robberies where the suspect demanded OxyContin. Court documents suggest the suspect faces a problem the government now calls an epidemic.

“It doesn’t take much for people to overdose on these drugs,” Lynch said. “I think the last data I saw was 16,000 Americans died from overdoses of these prescription drugs in the last year.”

Lynch said these drugs are so dangerous that the FDA recently changed their labeling: “They used to say for moderate or severe pain, but now just for very severe unrelenting pain.”

The move is meant to keep the drugs around for those who really need them, including cancer patients and serious accident victims. For them this pill provides quality of life while for others it’s detriment.

For more information about Oxycodone, click here.

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