Roxicodone Abuse Amongst Teens
One night while I was asleep in my dorm room, the phone rang. It was my best friend, and I’ll never forget the sound of her voice that night.
“Ryan wouldn’t wake up.” She said. She sounded hollow, empty.
“What?” I said, sleep deprived and confused.
“Ryan. We couldn’t wake him up.” She said.
Ryan was her younger brother. He had been out with friends the night before, and had been drinking and taking painkillers. He overdosed and died that night. Ryan was sixteen years old.
Roxicodone Abuse amongst Teens: A growing problem
Teens are not immune from the prescription painkiller epidemic that has plagued most of the nation. Roxicodone is the street name for the drug oxycodone. It’s known on the streets as “roxies” or “blues,” Roxicodone has recently become the drug of choice for abusers. Roxicodone abuse amongst teens is a growing problem.
Roxicodone Abuse amongst Teens: History
Before the release of OxyContin, all formulations of oxycodone contained an NSAID, which limited its potential for abuse. The NSAID component of the drugs also restricted the routes of administration to oral ingestion. When OxyContin was released, abusers realized that they could crush the pill to release pure oxycodone (up to 80mg in one pill), which allowed larger doses and by additional routes of administrations such as intravenous and intranasal. Due to the widespread abuse, especially in rural areas, OxyContin came to be known as “Hillbilly Heroin,” and reports of its abuse flooded the media.
In 2011, to try to curb abuse of the drug, manufacturers added additional binders to the formulation to prevent the grinding of tablets for insufflation or injection, and to maintain OxyContin’s extended release characteristics. The added binders greatly reduced the recreational value of OxyContin, because they were not easily broken down. When this happened, the short release version of oxycodone-Roxicodone, or Roxy’s- quickly became the new formulation of choice by abusers, and Roxicodone abuse amongst teens became much more common.
Roxicodone Abuse amongst Teens: Roxicodone and Heroin
Experts believe that the growing problem of Roxicodone abuse among teens has led to an increase in heroin abuse in the same age group. Roxicodone addiction can be an expensive habit, with pills costing up to a dollar per milligram. By contrast, heroin in New Jersey can go for as low as $50 dollars a bundle (approximately one gram). When teens become hooked, it can become difficult for them to afford the pills. Heroin is a much cheaper alternative. This is the main reason that heroin abuse is skyrocketing among suburban teens.
Roxicodone Abuse amongst Teens: Treatment
Unfortunately, there are far fewer treatment options for teens addicted to painkillers like Roxicodone. Many adult programs will not treat anyone under the age of 21. In order to treat minors, substance abuse facilities must have specialized certification. Although more than one million teens need drug treatment, only one in ten actually receive treatment. Parents also are less likely to seek treatment for Roxicodone abuse amongst teens, instead writing it off as a passing phase or a rite of passage.
If your loved one is in need of alcohol or drug addiction treatment please give us a call at 800-951-6135.