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.