Illicit Sales of OxyContin, 2001

"According to a 2001 HIDTA [High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area] report, the Appalachian region, which encompasses parts of Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia, has been severely affected by prescription drug abuse, particularly pain relievers, including oxycodone, for many years. Three of the four states -- Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia -- were among the initial states to report OxyContin abuse and diversion. Historically, oxycodone, manufactured under brand names such as Percocet, Percodan, and Tylox, was among the most diverted prescription drugs in Appalachia. According to the report, OxyContin has become the drug of choice of abusers in several areas within the region. The report indicates that many areas of the Appalachian region are rural and poverty-stricken, and the profit potential resulting from the illicit sale of OxyContin may have contributed to its diversion and abuse. In some parts of Kentucky, a 20-milligram OxyContin tablet, which can be purchased by legitimate patients for about $2, can be sold illicitly for as much as $25. The potential to supplement their incomes can lure legitimate patients into selling some of their OxyContin to street dealers, according to the HIDTA report."

Source: 

General Accounting Office, "Prescription Drugs: Oxycontin Abuse and Diversion and Efforts to Address the Problem," GAO-04-110 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, December 2003), pp. 31-32.
http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d...

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