TREASURE ISLAND, Fla., – Yes, you read that right. Experts at a Tampa Bay Area drug and alcohol treatment center are appalled at a recent decision by the Food and Drug Administration, which expands the availability of OxyContin to children as young as 11.
OxyContin is the brand name of oxycodone, a narcotic prescription pain-killer. According to rehabilitation specialists at Footprints Beachside Recovery Center, oxycodone is a highly-addictive opioid, which exhibits effects similar to those caused by heroin.
“This couldn’t seem to be a worse decision,” said John Templeton, president of Footprints Beachside Recovery Center. “The vast majority of our clients are people who are desperately trying to regain control of their lives because of this drug. The fact that the FDA has decided to make it more easily available to children is absolutely astonishing.”
According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, oxycodone is a semi-synthetic narcotic analgesic and is a popular narcotic for abuse. In addition to being taken orally, those who abuse oxycodone often snort it or inject it intravenously.
The drug affects the mind by creating a sense of euphoria and feelings of relaxation, which explains the high potential for abuse, the DEA says.
“I don’t know what can be done to reverse this decision, but I sincerely hope doctors will be highly judicious in prescribing it and only use it in dire situations,” Templeton said. “While doctors may be trying to save lives in the short term, the folks who work in recovery centers around the country are often trying to put those lives back together for the long-term, after they have been destroyed because of drugs like this.”
According to Templeton, more than half of the patients seen at Footprints are suffering from an opioid addiction.
“No one wants to see a child in pain, but we have to be sensible about this,” Templeton said.
Oxycodone is synthesized from thebaine, a constituent of the poppy plant. Oxycodone products are in Schedule II of the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970.
Founded in 2008, Footprints Beachside Recovery Center is a small, private, holistic substance abuse treatment center for adults and is located in Pinellas County, Fla. In addition to treating patients from throughout the U.S. and around the world, Footprints provides Florida clinicians with continuing education events and hosts community workshops on addiction related treatment and psychoeducation.