Oxycontin – The Fifth Estate

Tonight March 9th, 2012 – on CBC Canada at 9pm in Toronto an episode regarding the removal of Oxycontin from shelves by Perdue, prescriptions, addiction and excetera will be investigated by The Fifth Estate. I am hoping that this report has balance and some journalistic integrity; meaning that they don’t lump Painies in with addicts.

Please see the link here to see preview:


In Canada Oxycontin has been removed from Pharmacy shelves to be replaced by OxyNeo. OxyNeo cannot be crushed, which allows for the drug to be snorted, smoked or injected to provide immediate release of the active ingredients.

Oxycontin is a narcotic used to relieve moderate to severe pain and is supposed to be a slow release formula; meaning that once a pill is taken it should slowly release the active ingredient over several hours. It was marketed by Perdue as less addictive than other opiods, therefore safer to prescribe.

The manufacturer of the narcotic Purdue Pharma has been sued and has agreed to pay more than $600 million in civil and criminal fines.  Perdue got caught lying and their marketing folks taught doctors about the drugs. Doesn’t it seem odd that proper training for Chronic Pain should be on the shoulder of a 20 – 30 something sales rep trying to get great sales, than on our government training our health care providers on managing Chronic Pain Patients. Just saying. 

With the removal of this drug from shelves it has brought about quite a bit of media attention. Here are some news snippets that might be of interest

Facts on Oxycodone – Global News Canada

First Nations Oxycontin Addicts

I am directing my readers to these places, because it is important to understand the impact of the media, pharmaceutical companies, government, physicians and general public perception of the use of opiods. The events have created yet again, a perfect storm for prejudice against the true Chronic Pain Patient.

Addiction is a serious condition. It is a massive problem that effects so many of us, even if we don’t know it. I am not dismissing that AT ALL. However, instead of just placing a blanket statement about the rise in prescriptions, deaths etc. and the direct link to opiods. Why not look at several other factors mentioned in previous articles. Like say: the fact that in the First Nations piece – it is a drug that is getting SMUGGLED into the reserves, not just prescribed. Or why there are so many on the reserve that are addicted? That many of the deaths that have occurred are from those searching for a High or Euphoria – not pain relief. That proper security steps have not been taken in the manufacturing plants, distribution and storage of opiods. 

Here are some other articles that might be of interest too:

Oxycontin: Pain Relief vs. Abuse

Chronic Pain patients collateral damage of drug abuse policy

Should doctors give more Oxycontin to chronic pain patients?

Although the replacement of Oxycontin to OxyNeo shouldn’t matter to the legit pain patient as OxyNeo should just replace their existing Oxycontin dose – it is the media hype – the trickle down effect and the collateral damage of the Painie. So for those who want to educate themselves on the media frenzy, and those who want to educate surrounding family and friends – please pass along these links and hope that a BALANCED and INFORMED opinion is made.

Here’s hoping that the CBC does it right.


2 thoughts on “Oxycontin – The Fifth Estate

  1. Not getting Canadian television, I will be interested to learn how the topic is handled. There is a similar treatement of pain medication in the media in the US. Rather than focus on the legitimate use of these meds, the media hones in on the addicts, the doctors who over-prescribe, etc.
    I agree — not to downplay the fact that folks ARE addicted — some chronic pain patients, but a lot are those who use it like a street drug. When the war on drugs couldn’t be won in the US, everyone — government, law enforcement, the media — turned to prescription pain medication as the easy scapegoat. The war of drugs filled prisions, while meth labs and drug smuggling continues, run by gangs and cartels. I’m not sure that the pain meds like oxycontin that reach the streets are part of an income stream for such entities (with political, police, and military ties). This makes them easier to be sensationalized — and technically easier to get that illegal drugs.
    I’ve always found it hard to find a doctor who would prescribe pain medication. And, if I didn’t need the meds for my own pain, I’d be rich — which I am most certainly not.
    Looking forward to hearing feedback about the show.
    Not on facebook anymore, so haven’t been following you there.

  2. As a chronic pain sufferer in Australia I was at first horrified to read Oxycontin was removed from the shelves as what happens overseas happens in Australia. But after reading they are replacing it with a similar drug which cant be crushed I didnt care, as long as the drug works. Here in Austalia we have just release Targin which is a mix of Oxycondone HCL and Naloxone HCL. It is suppose to help with stopping constipation. I’ve found the pain relief to be less effective which causes me pain problems and at first it did help with stopping the constipation but now I’m half way threw the packet of 20 I’m back to needing to use stool softeners. may be things will change after extended use.

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