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October 25, 2009

OxyContin doesn’t deserve stigma

I agree with much of The Star’s article “OxyContin, heroin are a deadly duo” (10/17, A1), but I take issue with two points.

 First: that OxyContin is highly addictive. Many who use OxyContin do not develop addiction. Addiction is based on many things: one’s own brain reward system, genetics, personality and environment. Addiction requires all four components to come together to activate an addiction cascade. Sex, food, alcohol and nicotine also use these four components. This is why one person who drinks alcohol will become an alcoholic while another does not.

OxyContin is not a Svengali with the power to place one under its control. Addiction concerns are real because we do not know who may have an internal “perfect storm.”

Second: OxyContin was mentioned as being used by actor Heath Ledger, who died, implying OxyContin was responsible for his death. In fact he had six different sedating agents present on toxicology screens at autopsy.

Pain is a very real public health issue. For those taking OxyContin in order to function and control pain, misrepresentations of the drug’s power to cause addiction creates a burdensome stigma.

Laura Textor, R.N.
Blue Springs


Keith Williams3

I went to the doc when I had no insurance, they said take prilosec, went back for the same problem and they gave Oxy. Is this because if you have Insurance you can get addictive drugs so you can keep coming back? Ok sorry bad joke.

T. Hanson

Drug companies pay (oops, I mean give promotional meals and wine) doctors to push certain drugs to patients that need their products.


Unfortunately it appears to have replaced aspirin as a pain reliever. Seems like almost everyone has a prescription for the stuff now. I thought it was to be used for pain that none of the other analgesics would work on. Why are people getting a prescription for it when they have cramps or a backache?
I mentioned to a doctor that I had a headache and they offered me either OxyContin or hydrocodone. Why? All I needed was a Tylenol.

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