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Misuse of OxyContin and other Pharmaceutical Opiates in America

The increasingly misuse of OxyContin and other pharmaceutical opiates in the United States is overwhelming, to say the least, it has spiked to an all-time high causing a traumatic crisis in our country. Traveling to the Eastern regions of the United States ‘The Appalachians’ which spans from, the Southern Tier of New York to Northern Alabama, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, the Carolina’s, Georgia and several other rural areas are states dealing with the impasses of, nonmedical prescribing. Nonmedical prescribing in-short is the prescribing of ‘any’ drug undertaken by a health professional, but a health professional whom is not a doctor.

Opioid misuse remains to be a growing public problem which needs the proper action and/or proper implementation in the effort(s) of the approaches in which that are taken prior to the prescribing of a medicine, evaluating the potential for onset and offset problem(s) and to providing adequate treatment(s) and service(s) to those whom are experiencing unexpected effects.

“The misuses of prescription opioids, central nervous system depressants and stimulants is and has been a serious public health problem throughout the United States for quite some time now; although most people take prescription(s) responsibly, an estimated 54 million people (more than 20% of those aged 12 and older) have used such medications for nonmedical reasons at least once in their lifetime. The reasoning for the high prevalence for prescription drug misuse varies by age, gender and factors that are likely to be the ease of access.” (“What is The Scope of Drug Misuse?,” n.d., para. 1)

There are many epistemic beliefs ‘theories’ regarding the many influences on opioid addiction(s) with the addition to an array of key factors that come into play all stemming from the standpoint(s) of principal, spiritual guidance, self-containment, behaviorism and/or psychological impulses. Other hypotheses regarding the (4) influences are: “greater opioid prescription in rural areas, creating the affordability/availability from which illegal markets can arise. The out-migration of teens/young adults. Social kinship networking connections, which facilitate drug diversion(s) and distribution(s) among those in rural populations. Economic stressors that cultivate vulnerability to the usage of drugs – generally. The systematic consideration of its contexts that create differences in availability, access, and preference.” (Keyes, Cerdá, Brady, Havens, Galea 2018).

“OxyContin, is a powerful prescription painkiller” (Estep et al. 2011) which has for some time now been abused in alarming rates especially in those areas of the Appalachian; the level(s) of pain pill abuse throughout the state and across the country is at epic levels. “Despite some minimal successes including high-profile drug arrests across the country, increased treatment programs and the adoption of prescription drug monitoring programs in 43 states — the problem still lies and is so entrenched that drug traffickers travel from Florida to Kentucky and other states to peddle as they call it, “hillbilly heroin” nicknamed the “OxyContin Express.”” (Estep et al. 2011)

“Unintentional overdose deaths from opioid pain relievers has quadrupled since 1999 and by 2007 outnumbered those involving heroin and cocaine combined”. (Keyes et al. 2014). The systematic pattern(s) of nonmedical use of prescription opioids varies not only from person-to-person but also from the infrequent use of once to twice per year to sometimes even daily which then becomes a heavy compulsivity which ultimately becomes an undeniable dependency. “The underlying characteristic of the epidemic is the association between the increasing rate of opioid prescribing and the increasing opioid-related morbidity and mortality”. (Compton et al. 2016)

“The history of the opioid crisis in Appalachia can be traced back to the region’s reliance on the sensuosity of manual labor, be that at the coal mines, farms and/or in the forests; heavy labor often came chronic pain”. (Kemsley 2017). “There are many reasons for the high rating of opioid misuse” (Kemsley 2017) in the Appalachian region, but predominantly it amounted from the progressive decline in the economic situation(s) that seemed to have plagued its community – the severe economic downturn. Compounding this sense of despair to the availability of drugs is where the crisis started presumably?!

Within any stressful situation ‘we’ as people tend to fall foul to addiction(s) of everything and/or anything that would lift us ‘if you will’ from the sudden burden(s) that are transpiring in effort to afford some sort of euphoria even if it’s short-term; meaning that people either look to retail therapy, food, exercise, music, ASMR, and for some alcohol, drugs, etc. Suppressing and/or escaping from the ‘current’ (at that moment) energies that are unwarranted into something that not necessarily has a purpose, but at that very moments elevates the present reality – this begs the question, is addiction inevitable?

The main sociocultural factors that influence much of what drug abuse attributes to is bonding experience(s) – Socializing with individuals which in-return turns to intoxicants as a means of curbing social anxiety. A recourse to ending and/or relieving stress – People tend to overindulge in the sense of relief from the stresses of daily life, using any drug of choice as “an outlet” or the means of temporarily escaping from their individual reality. Having the sense of community – The tendency for drug and alcohol abuse to promote group solidarity and feelings of community and belonging; primary contributor by large is the use of narcotics such as cocaine and/or heroin ‘peer group characteristics’, followed distantly by adverse familiar conditions and individual social circumstances such as homelessness. The allure to rebel – Rebelling against the norms and expectations of society. Teenagers/young adults turn to substance abuse to ‘act out’ against any authority and by the limitations imposed on them both either at school, home, etc. Lifestyle appeal- Finding the lifestyle of the substance abuser to be appealing, perhaps even glamorous by their attire, the surroundings, activities, etc.; finding the person’s entire lifestyle appealing.

“The relationship between human social/group behavior and substance abuse is multifaceted” (Scherzer 2018) however, social factors seem to carry the most weight when it comes to getting people involved in substance abuse. However, there are many other social and environmental factors that could influence an individual’s likelihood of substance abuse…An individual’s genetic predisposition likely to influence the development of an addiction; it’s not always a causal factor!

Works Cited

Misuse of Prescription Drugs Anon. 2017 “What Is The Scope Of Prescription Drug Misuse?” Substance Abuse Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. Results from the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables. SAMHSA | National Institute on Drug Abuse. Retrieved June 12, 2018 ( And, (

Cope, Louise, Aseel Abuzour, and Mary Tully. 2016. “Relationship Between Nonmedical Prescription-Opioid Use And Heroin Use” | NEJM.” New England Journal of Medicine. Retrieved June 11, 2018 (

Estep, Bill, Dori Hjalmarson, and Halimah Abdullah. 2011. “Oxycontin Abuse Spreads From Appalachia Across U.S..” mcclatchydc. Retrieved June 11, 2018 (

Kemsley, Tamarra. 2017. “Appalachia: The Cradle Of The Opioid Epidemic – Black Bear Lodge.” Black Bear Lodge. Retrieved June 11, 2018 (

Keyes, Katherine, Magdalena Cerdá, Joanne Brady, Jennifer Havens, and Sandro Galea. 2014. “Understanding The Rural–Urban Differences In Nonmedical Prescription Opioid Use And Abuse In The United States.” US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. Retrieved June 11, 2018 (

Scherzer, Barb. 2018. “What Are The Social Factors That Contr

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