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OxyNeo is Supposed to Be Canada's Solution to OxyContin Abuse and Addiction - But Will it Actually Work this Way?

The Canadian government has finally approved a new drug that is intended to be a solution to the spreading OxyContin abuse epidemic in Canada. OxyContin is the strong, time-release opioid pain killer that has been abused by millions in the US and Canada since its introduction in 1996. In Canada alone, it is estimated that 200,000 people are abusing and are addicted to this drug.

After Purdue Pharma satisfied the requirements of the US government by developing a less-abusable form of the drug for the US market in 2011, it then had to meet the demands of the Canadian authorities. The new drug was released to Canadian patients at the beginning of March 2012 and was called OxyNeo.


The usual ways of abusing OxyContin have included:

  • Smoking
  • Dissolving and injecting
  • Crushing and snorting
  • Simply consuming more than prescribed.

Crushing, smoking and dissolving would circumvent the time-release mechanisms built into OxyContin. So all these methods released the full dosage of opioid into the body in a hurry. The result was a high similar to that of heroin. In fact, when those who were addicted to OxyContin found they could not afford or obtain the drug when it was needed, they would often resort to getting heroin. Ironically, heroin is cheaper and often easier to get than this prescription drug, because users only need to find a drug dealer on the street rather than negotiate the medical channels of either country.

But now, OxyNeo is formulated in a way that resists smoking, dissolving or crushing, thwarting efforts to release the drug quickly.

The New Formulation

Reports on the release of this new drug state that a OxyNeo pill is too hard to crush but that when taken internally, the body will still extract the medication from the pill. Those taking the pill are warned that they may find an intact pill in their body waste, but they still received the dosage intended.

Those who try to smoke the pill are warned that it will not burn sufficiently to provide any intoxication. And those who want to dissolve it will find that it will just turn to a jelly that cannot be injected.

The whole idea is to protect those who are unable to control their desire to abuse this drug.

What Will Abusers Turn to Now?

This conversion fails to take one major factor into account. When a person is addicted to an opiate, they must have a solution. If that solution is not effective, addiction treatment, most opiate addicts are very likely to seek out another opiate or opioid they can abuse.

Canadian opiate addicts have a few choices.

  • They can try to obtain other prescription opiates like hydrocodone, hydromorphone or fentanyl.
  • They can try to get OxyContin/oxycodone from another source, such as an out-of-the-country supplier. In this case, they may get a fake product, a contaminated one or one of unreliable potency.
  • They can turn to heroin. Unfortunately, there is plenty of heroin available in Canada for the addicted to turn to.

In December 2010, the news site reported on the large increases being seen in heroin abuse and addiction. It was reported that the number of students in Toronto who had abused the drug nearly doubled between 2007 and 2008. Abuse statistics also increased in British Columbia, but less dramatically. Alberta was the province with the highest rate of opioid use in the country in 2010

Canadian heroin tends to come directly from Afghanistan, with some trafficking channels being established by returning soldiers. According to the news article, the ages of Canadians abusing heroin keep dropping, from around 19 a few decades ago to as young as 14 today.

Prescription Drug Rehab

Transitioning Off OxyContin to?

The best thing that could happen to those who have been abusing OxyContin is that they transition to sobriety rather than to OxyNeo. What is needed for this to happen is an effective drug rehabilitation program, one that results in sobriety for the majority of those going through the program. While many drug rehabs across the continent state success rates of 16% to 20%, the Narconon drug and alcohol rehabilitation program routinely sees success rates of 70% or better.

The Narconon rehab centers offer long-term residential rehabilitation to those who wish to end their addictions. Also in Vancouver, a drug education unit featuring the Narconon drug prevention curriculum fans out to prevent young people from starting to abuse OxyContin, heroin or other drugs.

Those who have been addicted to opiates or any drugs including marijuana and alcohol deserve the chance to find lasting sobriety. That is both the goal and the result of the Narconon addiction recovery program.


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