Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Getting a Rush

There was a striking report on NPR last night about the growing use of OxyContin by high school students. NPR cited a study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse that claims OxyContin use is up 40 percent over the last three years and that one in 20 high school seniors admit to having used it.

I guess my biggest question about this trend is whether banning a drug completely, like heroin, or making it available through a prescription like OxyContin, has any effect on its use. OxyContin, at $80 a pill, is much more expensive than heroin, but it seems to be used more right now. Granted, this could be a symptom of poor information where kids don’t know the serious addictive nature of the drug. One of the kids interviewed by NPR said he tried it because it was a prescription drug and he therefore assumed that it was relatively safe.

The point is that OxyContin has become a serious problem. I don’t know what the answer is, but I suspect one proposal will be to ban it completely. As much as it has helped those in serious pain, we need to find out if there are other ways we can combat this before banning it becomes our only recourse.