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Non-medical use of OxyContin Tablets in the United States.

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Pinney Associates, Bethesda, MD 20814, USA.


The non-medical use of OxyContin (controlled release oxycodone HCl) Tablets has been widely cited in media reports often leaving the impression that OxyContin was a source of primary or new onset drug abuse. However, no published research to date has examined the drug use history of those reporting non-medical use of OxyContin. This study examined rates of non-medical OxyContin use in the United States and the demographic and drug use profiles of those reporting such use, based on data from the 1999, 2000, and 2001 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Household Survey on Drug Abuse. Reported lifetime non-medical OxyContin use in the United States increased from 0.1% to 0.2% to 0.4% in 1999, 2000, and 2001 suggesting new incidence of 0.1%-0.2% per year. Compared to those reporting non-medical use of prescription analgesics other than OxyContin, non-medical OxyContin users were more likely to show a pattern of more serious drug abuse: they used multiple drugs, used needles for drug injection, and had higher rates of abuse and dependence. Approximately 83% of non-medical OxyContin users reported having used illicit drugs or other prescription medications non-medically prior to their first non-medical use of prescription analgesics. Even compared to those who reported non-medical use of other prescription analgesics, non-medical OxyContin users already had a more significant pattern of drug abuse before they began using prescription analgesics for non-medical purposes, suggesting that non-medical use of OxyContin is rarely the initiating factor leading to the abuse of other drugs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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