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OxyContin Abuse: Maine's Newest Epidemic

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2002
23 pages
This paper examines the epidemic and abuse of the prescription pain medication Oxycontin in the State of Maine and presents recommendations made by the Substance Abuse Services Committee in addressing the problem of its abuse.
Oxycontin is a prescription pain medication which was introduced in 1995 by a privately held pharmaceutical company. It is a Schedule II narcotic that is highly regulated. A Schedule II drug is legal for medical purposes, but has a high potential for abuse. Oxycontin and other prescription opiates have become a serious problem in Maine that has increased crime, emergency medical treatment, and spread hepatitis C. The State of Maine has become the first State to identify a problem with Oxycontin and other prescription narcotics. The Substance Abuse Services Commission conducted a 6-month study of the problem, seeking advice from experts, such as medical, law enforcement, and treatment professionals, and recovering addicts. Recommendations submitted by the Commission included: (1) increase access to treatment, specifically detoxification services and treatments for opiate addiction; (2) increase public education; (3) increase participation by school systems in the Maine Youth Drug and Alcohol Use Survey, measuring prescription drug abuse for time in 2002; (4) increase funding for law enforcement to address diversion of legal drugs to illegal use, targeting areas with the greatest need and fewest resources; and (5) develop a statewide electronic prescription monitoring program for Schedule II narcotics. Appendices I-III