Friday, May 11, 2007

Connections Among Crimes

I noticed the other day in media reports that an armed robber was sticking up pharmacies in the burbs for OxyContin.

That's the powerful, synthetic narcotic meant for people with severe pain from cancers, spinal injuries and the like.

But those patients have to use it with great caution (more about who knew what, and when, about just how much caution had to be exercised), something that seems entirely lost on teens and others who do not understand that Oxycontin is something of a perfect delivery system for addiction.

OxyContin (and I've never taken it) physically alters the brain and often sends the user into a permanent search for the drug with lifelong, irreversible and often fatal consequences.

So OxyContin dependency is not a feeling or preference that one can simply will away; something like half of the so-called recreational users - - obtaining it through theft, or from dealers, or diversion from legit patients, according to the recent HBO "Addiction" series - - will need treatment that includes expensive, "replacement" drugs to manage damage done to their brains' biochemical centers.

I don't have data on how many patients with prescriptions also become addicts.

Then make all that context for the stunning New York Times story about the management at Purdue Pharma, L.C,, the company that made, and manipulated the marketing of OxyContin.

The federal government hit the firm and three current or former top officials there with more than $600 million in fines for deliberately misleading prescribing physicians, and the general public, about the true addictiveness of the drug.

OxyContin sales produced for Perdue Pharma $2.8 billion in sales between 1995 and 2001, and at times, 90% of the firm's profits.

Bottom line:

The guilty individuals were allowed to plead to fines and misdemeanors (the company pleaded to a felony) for willfully assisting drug addiction that had become a health and justice system crisis nationally, according to US Drug Enforcement Administration officials and other experts.

A 2002 report tied OxyContin to at least 460 deaths.

What the Pharma officials did was set a new, low standard for greed, and regardless of the financial penalties, (sure they're huge, but bankrupty, insurance and personal resources will take care of most if it, and people killed by OxyContin dependency won't see a nickel), it's still a sweet deal for unspeakable offenses.

No one involved is going to jail.

And the guy robbing suburban pharmacies to get more of the stuff?

He'll probably be caught, sentenced for a felony, and go to prison.

Politican update: GOP presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani will surely be asked in debates and interviews to explain his law firm's advisory role to the OxyContin maker.

1 comment:

sharon17984 said...

Hi James,

Its really pathetic to know that such situation persist in this country. One thing is really clear after reading on to your blog that we all need to be really alert on taking drugs from pharmacies and any unknown people. And moreover we need to educate on this to young children and all young generation in particular.


Sharon Williams

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