Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Pharmaceutical drugs overshadowing heroin

From the National Post:
Heroin is fast being replaced by legal pharmaceutical drugs such as OxyContin and morphine among street users of opioids, suggests a national survey of addicts that underscores the challenges and opportunities of the changing drug trade.

Users of pharmaceutical opioids are less likely to inject their narcotics, which is good for curbing infectious disease, but they are also more likely to mix them dangerously with cocaine, crack and other street drugs, the newly published study indicates.

Meanwhile, experts are struggling to understand a supply system that includes retirees peddling painkiller prescriptions and pharmaceutical company employees selling purloined stock. With Canada one of the world's biggest medical consumers of opioids, which provide users with an anesthetizing release, the abundance of legal supplies has undoubtedly fed the illicit street market, researchers say.

There is an "urgent need" to more closely investigate and comprehend the new opioid scene, says the study published this month in the journal Drug and Alcohol Review by researchers in B.C. and Toronto. ...more

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