It Is Unfortunate That Oxycodone Can No Longer Be Injected

10/12/2012 14:39 GMT | Updated 07/02/2013 10:12 GMT

For a while, Oxycodone offered an option for opiate users - essentially, it was akin to medically prescribed heroin. Someone could get an oxy script and, rather than use it "properly", crush up a pill and do a smash. Oh the horror - people misusing their prescriptions, fiends taking advantage of naive doctors, nogoodniks abusing the system. Beyond that, quite a few overdoses could be attributed to this approach to injection.

So the makers of this drug were pressured into altering it so that it could never be used in a needle. Protecting addicts from their sorry selves, right?


First, people may shoot up because their pain issues remain unaddressed with oral intake, (doctors often hesitate to give people with substance use issues as much medication as they'd give to most others, and to boot the druggies often have higher than average tolerance). Or, people shoot up and thereby avoid having to cop heroin through underground channels. Or - sin of sins - some people want to get high and thereby get a temporary break from this thing we call "reality" (not much different from drinking beer, but the public has long been conned into believing that it is).

What about the overdoses?

Here's the truth: you see more overdoses when such options are not available. It's simple really: the same people will then turn to the street where a fix is bloody expensive. So they hustle, steal, perform sex acts for cash, or whatever it takes. The hustle and the bustle make life dangerous and erratic, increasing the odds of erratic usage and hence of overdose. The inconsistency of street products renders it all more unpredictable - further increasing the odds of overdose.

Here's the difference: the tragedies associated with medical scripts can be pinned on doctors and drug companies, whereas street drug overdoses cannot. The system may have fewer headaches when people die from street drug overdoses, but that doesn't alter the fact that more people are dying. The move to do away with injectable oxys was bloody murder - preachy, self-righteous murder to boot. Don't blame the company - they were pressured into it. You can blame them for other things, if you like, but here the fault lies elsewhere: preachy do-gooders, conservative politicians, right wing Christians, rednecks, reformed sinners (often addicts in "recovery"), and a host of other monkeys.

What we had for a while was a partial suspension of prohibition, and it did far more good than harm.