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OxyContin Maker Purdue Has Stopped Marketing Opioids to Doctors
12th February, 2018
OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma has announced it will no longer market opioids to doctors with hopes of reducing the number of prescriptions and improving the U.S. opioid crisis. Purdue laid off more than 50% of its sales force to back its announcement, and is having its remaining sales reps focus on non-opioid drugs. Purdue has been blamed by doctors, patients, lawmakers, and millions of other Americans for starting the opioid epidemic, since it was the company’s aggressive marketing for OxyContin in the mid-1990s that initially drove opioid use and addiction rates.
Why is Purdue Pulling Out of Opioid Marketing?
In recent years, Purdue has been slammed with countless lawsuits claiming the company downplayed the dangers and risks of OxyContin when the drug became available for sale in 1996. OxyContin was initially marketed as a safe alternative to non-addictive over-the-counter pain medicines, and was said to offer no serious side effects like dependence or addiction. OxyContin use in the U.S. grew at an exponentially fast rate between 1996 and throughout the 2000s as the medication gained popularity, and is now abused by more than 13 million Americans nationwide.
Purdue is reducing its opioid sales force with hopes of indirectly influencing doctors to use safer pain relief treatments. In its official announcement to prescribers, a Purdue spokesperson said the company is “deeply troubled by the opioid crisis,” and is dedicated to being part of the solution. Purdue says that going forward, any prescribers wanting to learn more about opioids will be speaking to healthcare professionals in the company’s Medical Affairs department instead of aggressive sales reps.
How Will This Affect OxyContin Use Rates?
Doctors, scientists, and researchers unaffiliated with Purdue say that reducing the OxyContin sales force will have very little impact on the opioid crisis, since OxyContin will still be widely available as a chronic pain treatment. People who use OxyContin will still have access to the drug, and will still be able to obtain prescriptions from their doctors.
Addiction treatment specialists point out that taking steps to restrict OxyContin could result in more people using illicit oxycodone sold by dealers who may be mixing the drug with dangerous synthetics like fentanyl. Doctors who stop prescribing OxyContin could be putting their patients at higher risk for dependence, addiction, and a deadly overdose.
While Purdue’s latest announcement may seem like a positive step in the right direction for resolving the opioid crisis, many are saying it comes too late to make any impact. But expanding access to opioid addiction treatment may be key to resolving the opioid crisis given the number of Americans who continue to abuse opioids like OxyContin.
Why Opioid Detox is More Important Than Ever
Taking steps to prevent doctors from prescribing OxyContin may reduce the number of nationwide opioid prescriptions, but does nothing to help those who are already struggling with addiction. OxyContin users who can no longer obtain the drug will start turning to heroin and counterfeit oxycodone sold on the streets that contain more powerful, deadly opioids like fentanyl and carfentanil. These synthetic opioids are up to 100 and 10,000 times stronger than morphine respectively, and have the ability to instantly trigger an overdose.
An oxycodone detox can help opioid addicts get clean while avoiding common opioid withdrawal symptoms. Today’s detox treatments involve the use of medications like methadone and buprenorphine that relieve symptoms so patients can safely recover from oxycodone addiction without having to spend days suffering from symptoms like vomiting, bone pain, and insomnia. Opioid detox treatments are conducted in safe, controlled medical environments so patients can recover surrounded by experienced medical staff who can intervene at any time to relieve discomfort and reduce complications.
If you need help recovering from opioid addiction, call our 24/7 confidential helpline immediately at 800-483-2193. Our addiction specialists will discuss all your treatment options, and help you find the nearest opioid detox center.