27 June 2003
OxyContin: The pros and the extreme cons: "Unfortunately, it’s a preferred drug for opioid abusers."
In my experience, this drug has not reached the level of cocaine, heroin, or methadone. However, it has passed things such as ketamine and psilocybins. I understand that in more rural areas - with less attachment to the drug trade from up North - it is more of a problem.
The main effect I've seen is that the local street drug unit has started taking pills off people and sending them to the lab for analysis. Most of the time they just come back as anything from aspirin to prescription drugs which I've never heard of before. This causes trouble for your basic woman who works at the Waffle House who complained that she had a back pain, was given some pills by another worker (medical self-help happens a lot among those with only so much money to spread around), and without thinking about it lets the officer search her purse. She knows she hasn't got any illegal drugs in there because she's never done anything other than a little weed when she was in high school. The next thing she knows there is a felony warrant for her arrest for being in possession of a schedule II drug and the prosecutor, the officer and I are all huddled in the corner of a courtroom reading the chemical analysis and trying to figure out exactly what the heck that six-syllable latin/greek word means. In busier jurisdictions the prosecutor usually drops the charge - in less busy, more conservative jurisdictions the client usually gets a misdemeanor with no time and a minor fine.
Author: Ken Lammers on 6/27/2003