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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) A new prescription painkiller is taking over as the drug of choice on the streets of this country. KMOX News has learned, it’s popping up in St. Louis, too.
It’s called Opana (pronounced “oh-pon-uh”).
Dan Duncan, Director of Community Services for the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse in St. Louis tells KMOX it’s basically a new version of an old drug — oxycontin. “It was formulated ostensibly to be less vulnerable to abuse. The new version of oxycontin, which is actually stronger than oxycontin, is supposed to be crush-resistant so it can’t be made into a powder easily that can be snorted or injected” Yet Duncan predicts Opana abusers will suffer the same fate of many painkiller addicts, “they eventually find their way toward heroin, because heroin is so much cheaper.”
Some reports put one pill of Opana selling on the street for as much as $70.
He suspects it’s getting into the wrong hands through thefts from home medicine cabinets, from so called “pill mills” or “pain clinics” that indiscriminately pass out prescriptions, and through internet sales. Duncan says most pain pill addicts are young — most often in their 20′s. He says there’s no easy solution. “When you look at the amount of money that’s being made from prescription painkillers, that’s one thing that probably serves to deter from an active plan on how to ameliorate this problem. Doctors, I think, have to be better trained on when to use these kinds of drugs and when not,” and Duncan says he would like to see better monitoring of prescriptions in Missouri.
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