It may not be common in Canada but it can be done and often is. A reader writes:
I have worked in community mental health for 21 years, here in the heart of Appalachia, where we have high rates of prescription drug addiction. It is true that our epidemic requires the involvement of prescribers somewhere. But our incidence of drug overdose deaths is way out of proportion to our population density. First of all, OxyContin can most definitely be injected. Addicts crush a pill, mix it with water, cook it up and inject just like they would heroin. We have high rates of Hepatitis C due to dirty needles.
There's also a financial incentive for criminality.
Current street value here for an Oxy 40 mg. is about $60, and for an 80 mg. Oxy is about $120. That's per pill. So, if an older person with cancer has a prescription for 90 tablets of OxyContin, 80 mg., his bottle of pills is worth over $10,000. Just imagine what kind of financial pressure that puts on a poor family up in the hills. If you cut down on your pain pills and sell the rest, you can pay a few bills. By the same token, if you're a young prescription opiate junkie and Papaw's got a bottle of Oxy's in his medicine cabinet, what might you have to do? Or if you're not fortunate enough to have a close relative with a bottle of pills, what might you have to do to support your habit? (We have a serious problem with petty theft and property crimes around here.) In addition to all that, prescription drugs are a worsening problem in the schools, because the pills are small, portable, and undetectable by the talented drug dogs. So, from here it's hard to see the upside of prescription drug abuse.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.