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Provinces ready to evict addicts from pharmacies

Submitted by on February 26, 2012 – 8:22 pmNo Comment

Ontario, Saskatchewan and the country’s East Coast provinces are attempting to curb rampant opiate addiction and the abuse of pharmaceutical meds by withdrawing funding for OxyContin – a drug that has indiscriminately ravaged the Canadian countryside over the last decade.

The move comes as Purdue Pharma – the Ontario-based lab responsible for the creation and proliferation of OxyContin – introduces the drug’s offspring, OxyNeo, a replacement that can’t be smashed or snorted.  To a fiend, OxyNeo is like a stem sans rock or a bike with no rims.

As Purdue Pharma sets to eliminate the existence of OxyContin from the market and those provinces ready to limit access to OxyNeo to only those with terminal cancers, junkies will be pushed out of pharmacies and onto the streets. What started as a public health crisis will soon spiral into a full-blown epidemic.

Chances are street chemists will in time figure out how to break OxyNeo down to a form that can be consumed but, as it stands, tens of thousands of OxyContin addicts in this country alone are looking to other drugs to find their fix after February.

The three choices are clear, and deadly: Dilaudid, a dirty derivative of morphine that’s best not to swim on if you have a fear of drowning; Fentanyl, the strongest opiate available on the market and a cutting agent known to cause overdoses at an alarming rate because of its potency; and the big H, heroin, perhaps the most dangerous drug known to man.

Oxy dealers are already devising strategies to keep their wallets thick. Most are moving into the heroin game. Though it’s a quiet drug – because its users inhabit a world that only they, the drug and other addicts understand – heroin is available anywhere, and soon to be everywhere.  Junk is a language many more will speak in future.

In addition, stricter regulation and less access to Oxy will cause street prices to skyrocket. Not only will drug-related crime increase when junkies have to pay more to get high, violent incidents set in scenes where heroin and money are centerfold will become commonplace in the Canadian communities where dope rules the day.

Because there’s more money to be made, more goons and gangsters will be willing to kill for control of national drug routes or local territory.  The elimination of OxyContin from the market will create a power vaccum of sorts – a void that pharmacies once owned, and one that will no doubt be filled soon by less savoury characters.

While wiping the drug clean from shelves is admirable, the plan is flawed and bound to backfire. There is little to no chance the removal of OxyContin will aid the real problem at hand – opiate abuse. Junkies don’t quit when they can’t get their drug of choice – they move to another item on the menu. Price and cost are no option.

Remi L. Roy; image courtesy of Fred Shakeshaft

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