Generation RX--OxyContin Makers Fined $635 Million
Ok...it's not JUST the "Generation RX" (generation "prescription, for those of you unfamiliar with the term.) who get addicted to OxyContin. It affects millions of people every age. However, prescription drug use has escalated among teens and young adults.
"In its annual survey of teen drug use, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that OxyContin use by 12th graders is up 40 percent nationwide in just three years. Five times as many 12th graders report using OxyContin than report using methamphetamine. The results have been tragic.... There's always someone who has it...there's kids selling it. I know alone, like, 10 kids selling it themselves."
The Drug Company's Pricey Punishment
U.S. District Judge James Jones levied the fine on Purdue, its top lawyer and former president and former chief medical officer after a hearing that lasted about 4½ hours. The hearing included statements by numerous people who said their lives were changed forever by addiction to OxyContin, a trade name for a long-acting form of the painkiller oxycodone.
Designed to be swallowed whole and digested over 12 hours, the pills can produce a heroin-like high if crushed and then swallowed, snorted or injected.
From 1996 to 2001, the number of oxycodone-related deaths nationwide increased fivefold while the annual number of OxyContin prescriptions increased nearly 20-fold, according to a report by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. In 2002, the DEA said the drug caused 146 deaths and contributed to another 318.