A Country Thing? Rx Drug Abuse Most Common In Rural Areas

Prescription drug abuse is a major point of focus for our blog, as it is a problem the scope of which is still not fully understood.  Florida has received a lot of attention for its pain clinics, but it seems the areas in which prescription drugs are mostly abused are rural (which should come as no surprise to the viewer of the OxyContin Express).

According to a new study that will appear in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine (see Science Daily for the full article), rural teens are more likely to abuse prescription drugs.  With adjustments for other factors made, the study found that rural teens were 26 percent more likely than urban teens to admit to prescription drug abuse.

In general, 1 in 8 teens reported prescription drug abuse at some point in their lives, itself a rather alarming statistic.  The study suggests that the greater tendency toward prescription drug use in rural areas may be the result of a lack of availability of similar illegal drugs, such as heroin.

While a heroin shortage in rural communities may sound like a good thing, it doesn’t seem like, based on these statistics, the country life is simpler or free of drug use.  In fact, not only is prescription drug use a problem in rural communities, but treating it may be more difficult than it would be in an urban community.  Rural teens may be less likely or have a harder time finding places that will help them deal with a substance abuse problem.  It is possible that their communities do not have the same awareness level as do larger communities or have the same ability to deal with a local drug problem.

We have documented extensively in our blog that prescription drug abuse can have as many consequences as illegal drug abuse.  For parents and policymakers alike, it’s something to think about.

Getting The Drugs Out Of Your Medicine Cabinet Before Someone Else Gets To Them

The DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) is ratcheting up their efforts against prescription drug abuse (see Yahoo News):

We have reported on various aspects of the prescription drug problem before (see our blog entry on fraudulent prescriptions for example).  The DEA’s call for the voluntary removal of prescription medications that are no longer needed from folks’ homes is not new, exactly – on a smaller scale, police departments have done this around the country.  Last weekend marked a monumental effort that indicated the seriousness of the problem – approximately 4,000 medication drop-off sites were set up across the country.

What kind of drugs might you have in your medicine cabinet that have become popular drugs of abuse?

Vicodin – You might receive Vicodin for a broken leg, or after a dental appointment, and not see a need for taking it after the pain is gone.  In fact, you may stop taking it because you know it’s addictive.  Leaving it around the house only presents the curious with an opportunity to try it recreationally.

Percocet – This is another popular prescription pain reliever that is popped recreationally for feelings of heightened well-being.  Withdrawal from this and other drugs on the list can be difficult though, especially when used recreationally/unnecessarily.  The use of this drug can be tested for with a percocet drug test, which we call on our site the “oxycodone drug test” (since it works for both, and other drugs too).

OxyContin – “Hillbilly heroin” or “oxy” it is one of the primary reasons the DEA organized the medication drop-off.  As explained in the video above, it is practically “synthetic heroin.”

Codeine – This can be found in cough medicines and is an important ingredient in “purple drank,” a popular underground narcotic/antihistamine beverage.  Like the others on this list, it can also be taken on its own for its narcotic effects.

Xanax/Valium – These benzodiazepines are often mixed with alcohol, which makes them much, much more dangerous and the user much more prone to overdose.

This may not seem like something everybody needs to worry about.  But if you are a parent, discarding pain medication when you no longer need it is probably a smart idea.  Far too many kids are not just searching through their parents’ liquor cabinets these days – they’re searching through the medicine cabinet too, or doing both.

A New Prescription For Fighting Oxycodone & Vicodin Abuse

As any reader of this blog knows by now, prescription drug abuse has SOARED in the past decade.  That the drug is so readily available in kitchen cabinets to children is one reason, but the availability of these drugs goes even deeper than that.  Doctored prescriptions, doctors willing to give out meds for seemingly little reason, and outright forgery also commonly occur as addicts seek to get their fix on legal drugs.

Recognizing this problem, the state of Washington has made changes to the very paper prescriptions are written on as a response to this problem.  The newspaper The Colombian reports:

“We have to guard against erasures,” [Becky] Caswell said [Becky Caswell is a Southwest Washington Medical Center pharmacy official].  “People change the quantity.  The doctor writes ‘10’ and they change it to ‘100.’  They give themselves refills.  They add a drug, and write ‘Vicodin’ off to the side.”

To fight back against these problems, the new prescription paper has a lot of great features.  The seal of approval responds to heat and changes color if it is rubbed.  Similarly, if the new prescription paper is photocopied, the paper will read as “VOID.”  And effective tomorrow (July 2), if a prescription on older, non-tamper proof paper is received, the pharmacist will have to call the prescribing doctor to verify the prescription.

It sounds like a pretty major hurdle to certain kinds of prescription drug abuse.  Other strategies are needed to address availability in the home, or shopping out of state for prescription meds (Florida is notorious for its lax rules on prescribing drugs like OxyContin and Vicodin).

We certainly believe that in the case of home availability, the oxycodone drug test can help you battle abuse.  If your child is taking your pills or someone else’s pills it might be smart to test your suspicions with this easy to use urine drug test.  It doesn’t only test for oxycodone (OxyContin) but it also tests for hydrocodone (Vicodin).

How do you think your state should address prescription drug abuse?  Have your say in the comments below!

Vicodin – The (Almost) Illegal Drug

Vicodin is a trademarked pain reliever, popular and fairly well-known in America. Its component parts are hydrocodone and paracetamol (aka acetaminophen) [interesting fact: acetaminophen increases the effect of the hydrocodone. You might think it would be the other way around, since acetaminophen is best known to us as Tylenol, but that is not the case]. Anyway, Vicodin is not your average pain-reliever; unlike ibuprofen, which is an unscheduled drug, Vicodin is a Schedule III drug, meaning it could cause moderate or low physical dependence, or a high psychological dependence if abused.

We knew this already – but did you know that the FDA voted this past summer to recommend that Vicodin should be eliminated? The advisory panel that made this decision also singled out Percocet (a combination of oxycodone and acetaminophen). As the CNN article on the subject notes, these are just recommendations from an advisory panel – but typically, the FDA follows them.

It’s certainly a controversial matter considering how much press prescription drugs in general, and Vicodin in particular, have received in the past few years.  The FDA made its recommendation based on the risk of overdose and severe liver injury, but they could have as easily made the recommendation based on drug abuse, as 9.7% of 12th graders said they tried Vicodin in 2008 (see the National Institute on Drug Abuse for more).  Prescription drugs have become the new face of illicit drug use, and the string of tragic high-profile deaths drove that home last year.

So it is up to all of us to raise awareness about how a drug that can be so helpful can be misused to get high with disastrous effects:  addiction, drug trafficking, and overdose deaths.  You can fortunately test for many prescription painkillers in one swoop with a Vicodin Test / OxyContin Test.  Vicodin and OxyContin have hydocodone and oxycodone as the basis of their structure, respectively, and since both are opioids very similar in structure they can both be found with 98% accuracy in the same test.  Definitely something to know when you are thinking about prescription drugs like Vicodin – a drug dangerous enough to almost be considered illegal.

OxyContin Tests Turn the Home Drug Test Market Around and Fill A Vital Niche for Parents

The Problem of Prescription Oxycodone Abuse

As you may know, prescription drug abuse has developed into a huge problem in the United States. For example, a 2005 Monitoring the Future survey of high school students showed that OxyContin abuse went up among 12th graders by 40 percent in 3 years. OxyContin is one of the many generic names for drugs that include the narcotic oxycodone.

When used as prescribed, drugs like OxyContin and Percocet (which also contains oxycodone) provide much needed pain relief to cancer patients and people recovering from surgery. When incorrectly used however, OxyContin earns its nickname “hillbilly heroin” by producing heroin-like highs in the user and doing so in many cases more cheaply than heroin itself. This is why the Oxycodone, or OxyContin Test, developed – in response to a growing problem that needed a solution.

Before the OxyContin Test was made, there was no 98% accurate way for a urine drug test buyer to test for oxycodone based drugs, even though they do have much in common with opium and heroin, drugs which can all be tested for at once.

The Difference Between Opiates and Opioids

To understand why oxycodone needs its own home drug test, first we must examine how the drugs of concern here are classified. They are all opioids. Opioids are chemicals that work on the brain’s opioid receptors. Endorphins, for example, are opioids produced naturally by the body. Morphine, opium, heroin, oxycodone, and hydrocodone (Vicodin) are all opioids too. They are so similar, but they cannot all be detected by the same drug screen. Why?

FDA cleared urine drug tests for Opiates that are on the market are made to detect specifically morphine or specifically heroin. An Opiates test that has a 300 nanogram per milliliter cutoff level is one that is looking for morphine-based drugs, while an Opiates test that has a 2000 nanogram per milliliter cutoff level is looking for heroin and opium. Morphine does have a lot in common with oxycodone, as they are both opioids, but morphine can be found naturally, whereas oxycodone cannot. Oxycodone must be made in a lab. This leads to some structural differences.

While a urine drug test for Opiates can pick up morphine, heroin, and so on, depending on the cut-off level, it can only detect oxycodone/OxyContin in great quantities – overdose levels. So a new design was called for to deal with the prescription drug abuse problem.

The OxyContin / Vicodin Test

The same technology used to create other urine drug tests was used to make the oxycodone test. It can pick up OxyContin, Vicodin (made of acetaminophen and hydrocodone, a drug very similar to oxycodone), Percocet and other hydrocodone, hydromorphone, or oxycodone-based drugs with 98% accuracy. This is a much greater accuracy for these drugs than was available with either of the two versions of the opiates urine drug test. Depending on metabolism and other factors, oxycodone appears in urine 2-5 hours after it is used and disappears from urine 2-4 days later. The new oxycodone specific drug tests can find oxycodone in urine at the level of 100 nanograms per milliliter, a very small amount.

Making the Right Choices as a Consumer of a Home Drug Test

Whether you are a member of a police department, a worried parent or a friend, it is important to have the right information in hand when making a decision about how to deal with drug abuse. If you suspect drug abuse and want to test for it, make sure you choose a test that targets the drug at hand. You might think that an opiates drug test could detect oxycodone, since opiates in general and oxycodone are very similar. This is not the case when it comes to home drug tests though and a careful shopper will have the most success in finding oxycodone.

The Oxycodone Test – How/What It Tests For

This month is National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month.  In that spirit we are going to focus on prescription drugs and prescription drug tests, such as our Oxycodone Test.  Keep reading to learn more about this dangerous drug, and look forward to a future installment on our Xanax Drug Test.

If you are a parent and suspect drug use in your teenager, you may want to learn more about oxycodone (popularly known by one its commercial names, OxyContin) the drug that is devastating communities across the country with its extremely dangerous and addictive effects on the user.  It might surprise you that this painkiller can be abused in such a way that it affects the body like heroin.  This dangerousness is one of the reasons we sell an OxyContin Test.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) when abused, OxyContin can be ingested, but also smoked, snorted, or injected.  OxyContin is designed to slowly release oxycodone, but when abused in these ways the time-release mechanism is eliminated and the high is powerful and fast.  Instead of feeling its effects over 12 hours you feel it immediately.  Use can be detected as long as two to four days later by an Oxycodone Test.  Withdrawal is extremely painful, as recounted in this NPR report:

But just a week after he started using OxyContin, Ryan realized that if he didn’t get a pill every day or two, he’d start to feel sick. So he kept using it. He says he had no idea how bad he was hooked until the next time he tried to stop.

“It was like somebody was inside of your head with a hammer,” Ryan recalls. “You feel like you’re going to die. Just laying there in the bed, sweat pouring off of you… Then five minutes later, you’re freezing… then you’d be throwing up.”

Prescription drug abuse results in a great number of overdoses, and leads to further drug use – as NPR notes some OxyContin users turn to heroin for the same high.

OxyContin is not a drug to be taken lightly, which is why we offer an OxyContin Test that simultaneously tests for similar and similarly dangerous prescription drugs – it is a Vicodin Test, and a Percocet and Percodan Home Drug Test too.  If you are interested please visit our page for this test for more resources.