OxyContin: Time Bomb

OxyContin: Time Bomb

2014, Drugs  -   64 Comments
Ratings: 8.31/10 from 139 users.

In the medical community, chronic pain has become a major epidemic, and is thought to afflict many tens of millions of people worldwide. Pharmaceutical companies have been swift in their response to treating these patients, and their resulting products have netted multiple billions of dollars in revenue. Oxycontin, a narcotic produced by Purdue Pharma, stands as the poster pill for the severe pain-relief industry. While the drug has certainly assisted many in regaining a much-improved quality of life and daily function, it has also fostered a frightening new frontier in addiction. OxyContin: Time Bomb, a Canadian-produced documentary from CBC News, explores the origins of this troubling phenomenon, and searches for solutions amidst a crisis which shows no signs of slowing.

The success of the drug, and the unrivaled growth of the pain management and relief industry in general, emanates from an aggressive and hugely successful marketing campaign. Derived from opium, Purdue Pharma billed Oxycontin as a safe narcotic due to its slow release within the system, and downplayed its risks for endearing dependency amongst its users, particularly in comparison to its counterpart prescription drug Percocet. In what has become a disturbingly common practice within the medical industry, Purdue Pharma allied itself within the global community of doctors, and persuaded them that Oxycontin was the most reliable and effective remedy for patients dealing with chronic and severe pain. In effect, many of these doctors have become spokespeople for the pharmaceutical companies, and have often enjoyed large payments in exchange for advocating the drug in public forums.

What appeared at first glance to be an overwhelmingly positive development for all involved soon began to show signs of crippling dependency and withdrawal symptoms, alarmingly high rates of overdoses, and unprecedented recreational abuse. According to the film, this epidemic of addiction continues its insidious spread thanks to the mainstream legitimacy of the drug, coupled with the increasing permissiveness of the medical community itself. OxyContin: Time Bomb urges that change must come from within. Doctors must live by their mantra - first do no harm - and be more proactive in utilizing alternative means of pain treatment without the reliance on powerful narcotics.

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64 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Ted

    Go to Cali or some other looser State and smoke your ass off =D!

  2. Raquel

    From a humanity point of view, its very tragic how this medication has destroyed and ended lives. It obviously messes with the pain receptors in the brain so trying to get off this medication, for some if not many, is very very physiologically difficult. For those who are able to take it as prescribed and not develop the problems others have is great however it seems to be less common than those who go on to form a dependence and suffer the fall out. I think our society needs to put high priority and high quality resources into helping those who are suffering.

    1. S Scott

      Prolonged use of opioids causes usually permanent damage to the pain receptors called hyperalgesia....the longer an individual is on them the worse their pain becomes resulting in their Dr ,who is ignorant of this phenomenon , prescribing even greater and greater doses and adding more medication....a lethal move.

    2. Margarette Martin

      I agree. The pharmaceutical company that invented and pushed this American destroying drug, should spend just as much, money, marketing, and time helping people to successful recovery and sobriety, as it did get Americans dopesick

  3. Jaxcy

    At one time, years ago, my pain made me want to die. It was the worst i had ever felt and was not only house bound but confined to my bed as well. I had nurses coming in and out of my house daily, I needed help to even take a bath and had bed rails set up, as well as bars to help me use the toilet and i had a cane and a wheel chair for when i would finally be able to go out once again. I was put on 90 mg oxycontin, after trying many other meds, and i finally got some relief. I had hope and no longer longed for death to take me. But i did count the hours from one dose to the time that i would be able to take the next dose. It worked and did its job. And I was very happy about it. As my back healed i was able to go down on the amount of oxycontin that i was on, step by step. Later it was found to be addictive and many were misusing it so it was changed to what we have now In Canada called oxyneo..... It did not work as well but i got used to it and it still helped, although not as much. I am presently at a much lower amount that helps. But i must say that if you don't take it at the right time, the withdrawal is insanely evil. While it helped me with my back, and it helped me to be able to do housework and take the kids to their sports, i really felt like i didn't want to rely on it..So i went down to the lowest level possible for me and remain at it to this day....sometime I hope to get off it completely if i am able....

    1. Trina

      I got arthritis at 24 and I am 73 now so it is very advanced in my knees and feet and I use wheelchair and walker. It was my doctors idea To offer this drug& it helped. But now the DEA is banning it from not only pain patients but the pharmacies and doctors, criminalizing us. My dose will go down to 1/5th what it was and has already been cut back making me dysfunctional . You really don't have a life anymore when you can't even make it to the bathroom in time due to the pain limiting your mobility. I really don't know what to do . DEA is throwing the baby out with the bathwater so to speak. Putting everyone in the same category as the drug abusers. I have thought of getting a pain pump but only as a last resort and a nurse told me they might ban those too... One time my nurse stole all my meds and I could not prove it.

  4. ex-superman

    I feel for the weak willed that get hooked on pain meds.. Be strong, be stronger and stop blaming outside forces for your own failures as a human! I have been on the same low dose of opiates for over 3 years. I've ran out early exactly 2 times.. never experienced any "withdrawal issues. My State medical board says you must be treated at a pain management specialist if you are taking over 170mg of opiates, I use 60mg and still must go through the same garbage(HMO issued a proclamation to not deal with "pain management at all)" to procure my meds as a junkie that is pill shopping! I need to see my doctor every month(on going, no end in sight) and submit to a UA every single time, all due to addicts that use them not for their intended usage! I hate being tossed into the same group as abusers!

    1. Trina

      Me too! The DEA is withdrawing them ( pun intended) from pain patients! Commented above.

    2. Tim Lechowicztim@ymail.com

      To those who have lived with broken bones, pain medication is too often necessary to function. I also consider it unwise to point fingers, we are those people.\

    3. TDub

      Your incompetence and narrow-mindedness is beyond my comprehension. Kudos to you for being the one in a million that "says" he's not dependent. And screw you for being so judgmental.

      My daughter never abused, then was cut off from her meds (short term use) but no availability or instructions to wean off. She then turned to the street as her brain chemistry had been chemically changed (a KNOWN fact). She's now dead and I'm raising her child because of this epidemic and the stigma attached. And it's people like you who perpetuate the stigma of the "dirty drug addict" who ruined things for "legitimate" pain patients.

      Your pain may or may not be real. Your addiction may or may not be acknowledged. But you're stupidity is next level. Thanks for contributing to the problem, not the solution. I hope since you posted this ridiculous comment that you've learned some lessons. Hopefully you're not a heroin addict now. Hopefully you're alive to read this.

      I believe in responsible pain management. I do not believe in prescribing hardcore pain pills, meant for chronic pain, to people who have had a freaking wisdom tooth removed or broken bone, then blaming them when they can't get off the medication.

      Other commenters are saying that we, the non addicted, are blaming the drugs. No! WE ARE BLAMING BIG PHARMA FOR MARKETING THESE DRUGS (to doctors and patients alike) AS SAFE, AND NON-ADDICTIVE! We are blaming big pharma for murdering millions. These companies are NO different than your average heroin dealer on the street, except they are a lot richer and are still making billions, DESPITE current the FDA regulations that you are complaining about.

      People: please acknowledge these facts when posting & pointing your finger towards those who are "weak-minded". There's a lot more I could say, but I'm trying to keep my comments clean.

  5. L.

    The doctor who wrote the pain management book asked something along the line of 'where does personal responsibility begin'; this as an excuse for himself not taking responsibility for the ill effects that this drug has on certain people. It's a argument that I personally really do not like. He is sure in his thinking, I can see that, but he is wrong in what he does and stands for. He is certainly responsible.

    1. jmc

      Couldn't agree more.

  6. Brad Erlwein

    Seems a lot like Reefer Madness redux. The tolerance problem with these drugs is a limitation that has to be managed, but it's well worth the effort versus putting up the chronic pain. Blaming these drugs is a simpleminded approach that begs the larger problem. Properly managed by competent physicians, these drugs are still the best solution for chronic pain. This is a pretty crappy piece of documentary work.

  7. Jason Rane

    Although I must agree that consuming oxycontin/oxycodone and any opiate for that matter, is going to provide a pleasurable experience; therefor being high risk for addiction, and if addiction is present well not doubt withdrawal is to be expected too. I must also mention my own case. Due to the negligence of a surgeon I suffer from indescribable knee pain that hurts all the time, regardless of weather I walk, stand, sit, or lay down. the pain is excruciating, extreme, and constant. I would not wish this upon anybody. I managed to get by for seven years without drugs of any kind. the pain was worsening year to year and on the eight year when i was ready to end my life because of severe chronic pain i was put on a course of drugs (including oxycodone and methadone). these powerful analgesics have given me back some quality of life.

    I have been on them now for four years without any problems. i do suffer from addiction. i take only as prescribed, never anymore! and i can honestly say without these drugs i would not be alive today. so think twice before forming an opinion about how evil and addictive this medication is. perhaps it's not the drug that makes the addict, maybe it's the person that makes the addict. those who are prone to addiction will struggle with anything pleasurable. while those who are not prone will easily refrain from abusive behaviour with even the most pleasurable substances on earth. I for one am very capable of exercising appropriate restraint in life. It's impulse control and i happen to have it.

    I am one of many people who literally owe's his life to narcotics. so please please please think twice before hating on the pharmaceutical companies and instead aim that hatred at the idiots who have no self control and abuse drugs such as opiates therefor giving them an awful reputation which people like me then have to suffer the judgemental attitude of the ill informed masses of asses. I hate being judged as if i am an addict. it makes me sick to my stomach that people are so incapable of taking care of themselves.

  8. William Hoffmaster

    I have been on pain meds since 2003 from an accident at work and have tried just about everything. I now take three kinds of pain meds. and still am in pain. I also have a license for marijuana. The plant works better than any of the pills or patch. Yet the FDA still refuses to acknowledge that it is useful and non addicting. I wonder if any of you know how many labs the FDA has to test these drugs after they get the papers from the drug companies. The answer is simple :NONE. They make the decision on what the drug companies tell them. I think it is about time the FDA builds a lab and starts testing these drugs themselves. they do some small tests on some things BUT if we are going to trust the FDA then they need to build labs and test the drugs they are allowing us to use .. We are trusting them with our lives. know you are going to read this so please get Congress to alot the funds needed to keep Americans safe. PLEASE!!!!

  9. charlie

    The whole premise of this movie is ridiculous. Purdue did not say that Oxycontin would not cause addiction. IT said it would cause a lower possibility of addiction then non time released opioids. This is true. I have taken prescription medications for chronic pain for 20 years. I have taken almost everyone. I have ben prescribed oxycontin for control of that pain and despite the number of years I have had to take it I have never had to exceed 40Ms 2x a day. I am given a very low dose of breakthrough medication (10mg) up to 4 times a day and have never had to abuse that either.

    My pain is the result of a severe electrical accident which resulted in me losing a big part of my super torso. The pain will not go away it wil infect worsen as I age. The ability to control addiction is the result of a good doctor and a patient who understands that taking the medication outside of prescribed limits will cause problems. One time I took more than I was prescribed and I told my doctor I had done that. He threatened that if I were to ever do it again he would never write me another prescription.

    Message given / message received. Everyone in the world these days wants to place blame somewhere else. Where did Purdue say that the drug was NOT addictive. They didn't. Purdue cant help it if people go on their own like the woman in the film did taking 30 pills a day. Despite these truths the film game less then 5 minutes to one woman who understands that she needs to take the medication to remain at a level where pain is controlled and she can function. I am sure she understand that if she were to try to take herself off of it there would be withdrawal symptoms. As I understand there would be for me if I wanted to wean off eh medication. These are the realities whether it is less addictive ( which it definitely is) then immediate release opioids or not. Opioids in all forms can and will cause addiction. In the end everyone wants someone else to be held responsible for the choices they make.

    1. PhoenixRising

      In 1998, Purdue pharmaceuticals released a training video to doctors saying that less than 1% of people could become addicted to oxycontin and other opioid medications that they were pushing. Ignorance is almost worse than addiction

  10. Erica J Thiel

    It is really very sad so few know the difference between addiction andn dependence.
    Just like with MANY other drugs opioids have to be weaned off of in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms, this does NOT mean someone is Addicted!
    Dependence IS very difference than addiction -the elicit desire to get or inappropriately take a medication!

  11. KvlnTlmothyMore665

    People with real pain are now being abused because of the drug hysteria that that has been created by media surrounding opiate painkillers such as Oxycontin. Not every opiate medication has the same risk of addiction. Most opiate painkillers are not as addictive as Oxycontin. Many opinions about opiate medications have become very biased and do not provide a complete picture. In many Indiana communities, it is virtually impossible to find pain relief unless you are coerced by a doctor into taking less effective non-opiate pain medications that cause problems such as a heart attack and/or suicidal ideation. Apparently a heart attack and/or suicidal ideation are acceptable risks for pain management medications so long as the medication is non-opiate. Opiates and their users have become a scapegoat for problems in medical communities. Opiate users are often targets of harassment even though they have a legitimate health need.

    Indiana University Health Bloomington Hospital in Bloomington, IN regularly fails to diagnose patients correctly and calls them addicts without much evidence because it is easier for hospital staff and it is profitable. Apparently Indiana University Health Bloomington Hospital staff are the "good guys" for blaming perceived undesirables in the community and for failing to diagnose several painful physical conditions in some patients. Interestingly enough, many of the people they treat as undesirable have played important roles in the community and are Indiana University graduates. Hospital staff derive a great deal of competitive pleasure through defaming their patients and sending them home in unbearable pain.

    Indiana University Health Bloomington Hospital often seeks to get perceived undesirables out of the way by prescribing the patient behavior-altering psychiatric medications for pain in the hope that the medications cause suicidal action and/or other behaviors that will most likely be perceived as a psychiatric problem. The overall idea is to torture patients with behavior-altering psychiatric medications so when the patient self-harms the patient is the one to blame. A hospital that keeps patients sick and in pain always has profitable work that will keep them in business.

  12. Kevin Moore-Jackowiak

    People with real pain are now being abused because of the drug hysteria that that has been created by media surrounding opiate painkillers such as Oxycontin. Not every opiate medication has the same risk of addiction. Most opiate painkillers are not as addictive as Oxycontin. Many opinions about opiate medications have become very biased and do not provide a complete picture. In many Indiana communities, it is virtually impossible to find pain relief unless you are coerced by a doctor into taking less effective non-opiate pain medications that cause problems such as a heart attack and/or suicidal ideation. Apparently a heart attack and/or suicidal ideation are acceptable risks for pain management medications so long as the medication is non-opiate. Opiates and their users have become a scapegoat for problems in medical communities. Opiate users are often targets of harassment even though they have a legitimate health need.
    Indiana University Health Bloomington Hospital in Bloomington, IN regularly fails to diagnose patients correctly and calls them addicts without much evidence because it is easier for hospital staff and it is profitable. Apparently Indiana University Health Bloomington Hospital staff are the "good guys" for blaming perceived undesirables in the community and for failing to diagnose several painful physical conditions in some patients. Interestingly enough, many of the people they treat as undesirable have played important roles in the community and are Indiana University graduates. Hospital staff derive a great deal of competitive pleasure through defaming their patients and sending them home in unbearable pain.
    Very often, Indiana University Health Bloomington Hospital often seeks to get perceived undesirables out of the way by prescribing the patient behavior-altering psychiatric medications for pain in the hope that the medications cause suicidal action and/or other behaviors that can be perceived as a psychiatric problem. The overall idea is to torture patients with behavior-altering psychiatric medications so when the patient self-harms the patient is the one to blame. The theory is that a hospital that keeps patients sick and in pain always has profitable work that will keep them in business.

    1. gdfg345

      Journalists are allowed editors. Valid comment.

  13. Blaice

    Started really strong, but the lack of physiological effects on the body, to relate it to the more pure—harder—substance left it a little lackluster. Overall, it was quite a good documentary for the length. I am not a believer in drugs, and only see the deceit and disingenuous actions by an industry driven for profit, but acts in health. If these people understood foods interaction with the human body, and the amazing physiological potential, maybe they would choose a smarter route of alleviation.

  14. FollowTheFacts

    ...fine documentary...not very enjoyable to watch and not very interesting either, but...a fine documentary nevertheless...I gave it 7 – and I watched it because you guys gave it such a high score...a well made piece about a dreary subject matter....

  15. John Techwriter

    There are plenty of flaky docs on this channel, but this is not one of them. It's a segment from The Fifth Estate, which is to Canada what Frontline is to the USA -- a documentary series with intergrity and willing to take the time and resources required to explore a story.

    I recommend this video especially to those who take prescription meds to get high. It shows that with Oxy, a reckoning is bound to take place -- and often at the cost of a person's job, family, and self respect.

    Purdue, OxyContin's maker, have been fined $600 million for misrepresenting their highly addictive product as totally safe to family doctors who wanted a sure-fire pain remedy for their everyday patients. The judge said he would imprison Purdue executives if he had the power.

    In Canada, thousands of Oxy ex-addicts are in methadone programs, and that's because this drug is right up there with heroin in terms of its addictiveness and life-altering consequences.

    I'm not against getting high on principle -- life is hard and now and then we need a mental vacation. But it's good to know going in the price tag of your drug of choice. Part of getting high responsibly is awareness of the addictive properties of that which you are ingesting.

    This documentary takes on big pharma in a way most U.S. producers would never dare. Its insights are thus of value to the discerning druggie. And who knows? You might conclude that sometimes a double martini can be the safer way to go -- provided you're not driving, of course.

  16. Kaliya Knight

    Come on now!! This is like the poor getting in their first (beautiful) home, with some silly, ridiculously low payment. And hummm, you think they should ask some questions?? But no, they don't want the Lender to 'change their mind". And this (these) Borrowers are JUST as much part of the responsible for the entire collapse of our economy & housing industry! Ya don't think it's weird this lady went & took it on her herself to continue to over dose (her script) more & more without ever having contacted her Doctor to report the situation & ask for his legal direction? Duh!!! All of us have our roles & responsibilities in how we will contribute to or corrupt our community & whatever else. Please, let's all stand up & do the one thing they can't - say, I allowed myself to be taken under this crap, but I won't any longer. And let's force the Pharmaceutical companies to come clean!!! What a joke!

  17. TKRandi

    I wanted to add: "Yes pharmacuetical companies are in the business of making big bucks. It is the job of the medical assosiations, doctors and etc, to created a safety wall from this for their patients.

  18. TKRandi

    It does take regulation and also I have discovered it takes a better awareness about drug interaction. For instance I discovered that benzo's, or mood enhancement drugs such as torazapam creates an almost inability to take the proper dosage of pain med's. The sedative created anxiety and since I am bi-polar anyway and am on citilopram for it with great success, the sleep or hypnotic med' caused a after affect of nervousness which I am over sensitive to. Drug interaction awareness is important. I was educated about my problem when I quiet torazapam abruptly and was thrown into a manic high. Ambulance came and the attendant was very knowledgable about drug reactions. He informed me that the torazapam was in fact addictive and what I was experiencing was a full blown withdrawal. He said torazapam, zoloft and any of these med's are called hypnotics and young people even use them to get high. The psych department psychiatrist got me on them to help with sleep, when all I needed was more time to allow the citilopram (bi-polar med) to work. I sleep like a baby now and my world is beautiful and balanced. Thank you for these sites, they are a lot of help to the worlds' medication users.
    Also here in Canada, it is impossible to take too much pain medication. The pharmacies and doctor computers are all linked together with the CMA or Canadian Medical Association. If a patient has been put on a daily dose from his doctor for over using, every pharmacy and physician, in two minutes can check. There is no "doctor shopping here". Professional Pain Clinics are ready to help doctors do their job better. Patients can be referred and kept abreast of their progress. (Hope I spelled all the med's properly)

    1. Jennifer

      I really wish much of what you said were true, but unfortunately, it's not. You say that, in Canada, it's impossible to take too much pain medication, or to "doctor-shop," because pharmacies and physicians are, presumably, "all linked together" by computers - apparently via the CMA? - so they can apparently "check" on what doctor a patient sees, and what medication they're on. This isn't the case whatsoever - there is absolutely no accountability between doctors, or even between pharmacies! Even a single Shopper's Drugmart doesn't know what medication a patient using a different Shopper's Drugmart is on - the individual pharmacies have to call between them to transfer prescriptions, and of course, transfers aren't allowed with controlled substances, like OxyContin (or OxyNeo, which replaces OxyContin, in Canada).

      It's quite ridiculous, when you consider that banks manage to figure this stuff out! Many patients are "rostered" with doctors these days - through what are called FITs, FINs, or FIGs, (Family Health Teams, Networks or Groups) - and in this manner, a patient is sort-of "assigned" to a particular doctor, but that doesn't mean we all "speak" via computer to one another (though I agree that we probably should) - and many doctors, like myself, don't roster patients at all. So I have no way of knowing whether the patient that's currently waiting for me right now for my 900 appointment (I'm late!) has another one set-up for 1000 with another doctor, or might just go into a walk-in clinic or emergency department. And those places can *ask* her him who his family doctor is - and he might tell them the truth, or he might say, "I don't have a family doctor," and these places have no way of knowing. This is how doctor-shopping is so easy to do - and so completely preventable.

    2. Jennifer

      Two quick but important corrections. Zoloft is not a hypnotic, like lorazepam. It's an SSRI-class anti-depressant, in exactly the same family as citalopram (Celexa), although it's a slightly older drug and therefore used less. It has a "discontinuance syndrome" associated with it (as does citalopram, by the way), but it's not the same kind of withdrawal that lorazepam would have.

      Also, citalopram is not "a bipolar med" - like Zoloft, it's an SSRI-class anti-depressant used for the treatment of anxiety and depression. It can be used (cautiously) with bipolar, but is usually used in conjunction with a mood stabilizer, such as lithium - on its own, there is a risk for inducing mania. I just add this for correctness-sake. You make a good point, though, about the importance of knowing about drug interactions.

  19. Lila Joseph

    It's all about the marketing. When you promote alternative treatments you are called crazy and can be prosecuted but at least you don't promote addiction to the gullible!

  20. RockyRacoon

    The treatment industry is so far out of line in North America with their superstition over science that it is virtually impossible to get good pain management anywhere in North America. Politics and ideology informs pain management and as a result medical patients who must have their doses titrated on a regular basis are treated as drug seeking individuals looking to get high-there is no ceiling to the amount of opiates on can become acclimated to and eventually the dose must be raised to remain effective but the government will not allow them to go over a certain dose-that is outrageous for long term opiate patience who have stuck to their regimes faithfully for decades and without incident. Absolutely outrageous.

    1. Jennifer

      I agree that many (perhaps even most) pain patients are treated at one time or another as "drug-seeking individuals," and this is both unfair and insulting, since most *are* seeking drugs, technically, but only insofar as they'd like to have their pain treated - and who can blame them for that?!

      I don't agree that "eventually the dose (of all opiates) must be raised" due to acclimation - in fact, the vast majority of pain patients find a dose that works well and never require dose escalations. I'm not saying it never happens, but it certainly isn't the norm, or inevitable.

  21. TKRandi

    I am 67 yrs. old and have been using oxy four times a day for eight years for arthritis, osteoarthritis and digestive disc disorder. I find it still works for my pain and do not go over the recommended dosage. My doctor keeps a close eye on my usage. It is a blessing for me, as before I begin using it, I sat in a chair or lay in a bed, unable to move. My heart was becoming weak from inactivity. Doc put me on them and said, "Now get out there and walk, use your small weights and start doing your yoga again. I am 5'6" at the time I started on them, was 250 lbs. I would have died of what they call a flabby heart from inactivity. I never ate much, raw veggie salads, fruit, lean meats, seeds, nuts and dried fruit. Within a year I reduced my weight down to 135 lbs,, was exercising, went out and got a job as my x had no money to help me with. I worked for four years as a MOA, medical office assistant, running the entire office for the doctor by myself. I am now retired and have enough gov't money coming in to support me. Now I am active in the community and still praise oxy to this day. Not all stories are bad. It does take discipline to stay on the proper dosage, but possible.

    1. Jennifer

      Really nice to hear a personal story from "the other side" of the debate. It sounds like you really turned your life around - and while I've no doubt your pain medication played a valuable role, it sounds like you also put a significant amount of "sweat equity" into the process of healing your body and mind. Interesting, too that you ended-up running a medical office, so were able to see some other perspectives on illness from a front-row seat. Thanks for sharing a very inspiring real-life story.

  22. Jennifer

    Many people aren't aware of the difference between an addiction and a
    dependence. Experiencing withdrawal doesn't mean one is "addicted" to a
    substance - it simply means one's body has become accustomed to it. This is referred to as "physical dependence," rather than addiction. This
    is why people who drink coffee daily can experience significant
    headaches if they stop suddenly. That doesn't make them "addicted" to coffee (though we often jokingly use that term), though it may mean they're physically dependent on it, to some degree. If they thought about Starbucks all day long,
    stole money in order to afford their daily Grande, and needed more and
    more, just to get "that coffee high," then yes, that would be an addiction.
    Otherwise, it's a dependency. It's an important difference.

    There's much said about the devastating toll these drugs can take on peoples' lives - yet almost nothing said about the pain relief they offer those living with debilitating pain. For every horror story you read online, there are hundreds - perhaps thousands - of patients whose lives haven't "been destroyed," but in fact, have been salvaged, and returned to meaningful purpose. So often we forget - happy people don't spend time ranting online - they're too busy getting on with their lives. Another perspective worth considering.

    1. piqo

      dont talk crap on people expressing their opinion with this comment : "happy people don't spend time ranting online - they're too busy getting on with their lives"

      It is funny that you keep saying it because it's so hypocritical and you are supposedly a doctor.

    2. Jennifer

      I don't think you understood what I was saying, but perhaps I didn't express myself very clearly. I wasn't necessarily referring to this forum, but rather to the many, many (many) online forums where you'll read nothing but negative comments about a particular drug - and, to documentaries like this, which are pretty one-sided, and so are sort of rant-like in nature, in my opinion. Believe me, I'm happy to hear any opinion - but I do like to hear both sides, even if I don't necessarily agree with the "other perspective."

      My point was only that people will be more motivated to make a film, or to comment online (and comment multiple times in multiple places) if they perceive themselves as having been a "victim" of some drug or some system. As comments go, I actually think folks here have been pretty measured and thoughtful in their comments, and it was only my intention to contribute to the conversation, and offer that "other perspective," not to offend anyone.

    3. piqo

      fair enough, although it comes off offensively imo in an online forum :P

    4. Gnarlodious

      I have taken loads of opiate pills, including oxy, for extended periods and never got addicted. If you have a tendency to addiction, you are prone to get addicted to something, whether it is caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, Aspartame or pharmaceutical drugs. Its the people who chase that elusive “satiated” feeling that get addicted, because they don’t realize there is no such state as satiation.

    5. Jennifer

      Yes, I think that's a very good point. It seems that some people simply don't like the way they feel at baseline, and so they'll look for different substances to take them off-baseline, to a different place, a different feeling. I suspect that's what is meant when we use the term "self-medicating." I'm interested in your theory about some people chasing that experience of "satiation" - could this, at least in part, explain why some people binge-eat as well, and why so many people in our western society are obese? It's certainly something to consider.

    6. Fabien L

      I agree with what you said except for the happy people don't spend time ranting online part. I am quite happy but am currently off work because I hurt my back a week ago and I am indeed on codeine to cope with the pain.

      I am online because that is something to do while I heal and I've been commenting on forums online on subjects I find interesting. Some people might call it ranting if they don't agree with my opinions.

    7. Jennifer

      It wasn't meant as a generalization, Fabien - obviously I'm online leaving a comment, too! - and I don't necessarily think your comment was a rant, I'm sorry if I had directed that generally. My point is that there are far more disgruntled people motivated to leave comments than contented people, and so because of this, anyone reading a review of, say, a medication, is far more likely to come across a negative review than a positive one. For instance, I recently started the medication Topamax for migraine headaches. I put off starting this medication for months, I'll admit, largely because of the many reports online of side effects. I recalled that a patient of mine took Topamax and just enquired generally as to whether she had had any issues with it and she said she hadn't. I've since started the medication and have done fine with it. The point is that people who do well on a drug aren't quite as *driven* to share that experience as people who do poorly. That was all I meant. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

    8. Ratbastid

      Jennifer, perhaps your suspicion of the pharma industry is well founded, based on personal experience with it? I am not sure you would find all of your colleagues in agreement with your statement, however.
      You may note, that without the dedication, research and provision of many good medicines by the pharma industry, physicians like yourself would only have the capability to tell a patient whether they were going to "live or die", basically. Treatment requiring pharmaceutical interventions would not exist in a physician's playbook without many of the great medicines, devices and technology invented by many good companies.
      Suggesting that physicians are the only group who think they have the market cornered on providing good healthcare and their patients best interest at heart, is a misguided perception which today's educated patient is much more attuned with. A "good patient" relies on a greater sphere of healthcare resources, which ultimately can provide more opportunity for the betterment of many outcomes, including patient well being and health.

    9. Jennifer

      I think you must have edited your reply since it showed-up in my inbox, so I will try and reply to the post above. Actually, I'm quite certain very few of my colleagues would be in agreement with my statement - no argument there! You point out the many good medicines provided by the pharma industry, however, if you look at the final paragraph of the post you commented on, you'll see I hardly needed convincing - in fact, I was speaking-out in support of the pain relief offered by these drugs. So where are you coming from with that comment? Is it even my comment you're responding to? I ask because your comment seems to come from rather out-in-left-field.

      Likewise, where or when did I suggest that physicians were the only group capable of providing good healthcare? To suggest this would indeed be a misguided perception; fortunately, it's not a suggestion I made - or ever would make - since it's not something I believe. If you read further into the comments here, in fact, I made a comment stating that I believe people often perfectly capable of healing themselves; I also believe that a great deal of good is served by what we commonly refer to as "alternative" health practitioners (not my terminology); I personally have had all kinds of "alternative" therapies, so I obviously agree with your perspective - I just don't agree that it's my comment you're responding to.

  23. OldSchoolG

    This is old information, for anyone who has been following the big pharma pain killer epidemic. Now, that's not to say, that it's a bad documentary; or wouldn't be beneficial for educational purposes. But the premier documentary on the opiate epidemic, is still "The Oxycontin Express". But anything that can help people learn more about this real life horror, is better than nothing!

  24. M Chiron

    Doctors no longer swear any oath to do no harm. I was going to tell the long sob story of how my care was mismanaged and I was put on increasing doses of opiods until I developed complete tolerance and then was abandoned. The good news is you do not need opioids because large doses of cannabis extract are actually more effective at pain relief, as well as being an incredibly powerful anti-inflammatory which reduces/cures the cause of most pain. Most people can be fine on $5-10 a day of extracts compared to the insane cost of prescription painkillers.

    1. Jennifer

      Respectfully, isn't really anyone's place to say what will work for someone else's pain. That's a personal decision made between a patient and his or her physician. I'm glad to hear the you've found something that works for you, but unfortunately, there is no "one-size-fits-all" when it comes to drugs. Likewise, it's rather a bold statement to say that inflammation is the cause of "most" pain; in fact, starting *any* sentence with the word "Most..." is likely to lead you into trouble.

    2. piqo

      People don't need a doctor to heal themselves. Marijuana helps a lot of people. a lot of people could probably replace drugs that have nasty side effects with marijuana. 20 years ago you wouldn't be able to find a doctor who would recommend, let alone condone, the use of marijuana for pain relief. Tsk Tsk Jennifer, pro OxyNeo, anti weed, are you sure you aren't just a pharmaceutical rep?

    3. Fabien L

      lol The guy says large doses of cannabis extract are more effective than opoids and you act as if we should trust him blindly. Yet you said in other posts not to trust anyone completely when it comes to your health. Tsk Tsk piqo are you a Cannabis dealer? ;)

    4. piqo

      Maybeh ;)

    5. Fabien L

      Ok, watch out Cannabis can induce short-term paranoia in some users as demonstrated by Professor Daniel Freeman of the University of Oxford. ;)

    6. TKRandi

      It has been discovered recently that cannabis caused men's testosterone levels to go down. It is going to go down when men hit 50 yrs. old. This going to happen soon enough in life. Testosterone levels give men strength, muscle mass and, heat and energy. Just throwing this information into the mix for those who would like to know.

    7. Fabien L

      Interesting, I found the research paper titled

      Endocrine effects of marijuana in the male: preclinical studies.

      Here are some excerpts :

      "Chronic exposure of laboratory animals, such as rats, mice, and monkeys to marijuana and to the various cannabinoids in marijuana has altered the function of several of the accessory reproductive organs. Reports of reduced prostate and seminal vesicle weights, as well as altered testicular function, have been partially explained by the effect of marijuana in lowering serum testosterone needed for proper function and support."

      "Also, of concern are the reports that acute cannabinoid treatments affects the quality and quantity of spermatozoa produced by the testis."

      The good thing is the effect ceases when exposure to THC is stopped.

    8. piqo

      All medicine has side effects, it's up to each human being to decide if the medicine they are using does enough good to justify the harm it does. Having access to several different effective medicines is important! I would pop an oxy before i smoked a joint, but that is just me! Give the people freedom, don't let doctors dictate which drugs we can and cannot use!

      I am in the US and I wont be seeing a doctor for anything that does not involve imminent death for the foreseeable future.

    9. Jennifer

      It's tiring being made to account for the entire medical community. There's a lot of doctor-hating going on out there, though I suppose some of it is understandable.

      If you knew me as my patients do, you would know the following - that I am a physician, that I have a number of patients I treat for chronic pain with a variety of medications - including opioids AND cannabis, depending on what we determine together is most beneficial - that I'm relatively suspicious of the pharmaceutical industry, and that I believe many people perfectly capable of healing themselves without medical intervention.

      Where you draw your pro-this, anti-that assumptions from is anyone's guess - my suspicion is that I'm just getting painted with the same broad brush-stroke as most doctors. I can understand that - I think many doctors are very close-minded when it comes to listening to patients, and anyone suffering with chronic pain already knows the frustrations involved in trying to get treatment and relief. Still, I think you should try to be more respectful - just as you wouldn't want someone stereotyping you based on something, you can probably imagine that others don't appreciate it, either.

    10. tim

      Hi Jennifer, I just wanted to commend you on your patience and learned response to some comments. I would gladly have you for a doctor. Cheers Tim

    11. Jennifer

      Thanks, Tim. That's kind of you to say.

  25. Tim Chisholm

    Well done doc.

  26. Fabien L

    I've yet to find an opiate medicine that is not addictive. One should be very careful with these pain medicines.

    1. piqo

      there is inherently no such thing as an opiate or opioid type medication that doesn't "get you high" and/or is not "habit forming". They all cause withdrawals if used daily. Subutex, methadone, percocet, oxycontin, fentanyl, heroin, codeine, hydrocodone, morphine, opium, every single one.

      The same way oxycontin claimed to be "less addictive" than other pain pills, Heroin was marketed as a non addictive pain relief option. Turns out it was much more addictive.

      People, unfortunately, can not trust their doctors to have their best interests at heart. I have heard several doctors complain that their patients look things up on the internet. what a joke.

    2. Fabien L

      There are kinds of pains that require opiates, I simply think the effects should be clearly explained before prescription and they shouldn't be used long term. I am by no mean on a witch-hunt against doctors.

    3. Jennifer

      I'm a physician, and I welcome patients educating themselves, whether it's on the internet or elsewhere. I've no doubt there are doctors that are as you describe, but I don't think it's fair to paint any group of individuals with a single brush. Sorry you don't have a doctor who has your best interests at heart - I don't think my patients would agree with you, though. Maybe it's time to find a new doctor.

      Yes, opioid medications have the properties you describe. They also relieve pain, and for those people with debilitating pain, that can be life-changing. As with most things on the internet, it's the horror stories that these films are based on - the millions of people who use OxyNeo successfully and without problem (there is no more OxyContin, in Canada, anyway) aren't spending time ranting on websites - they're busy getting on with living their lives.

    4. piqo

      I see my comment was taken incorrectly. I realize that there is pain that requires opiates, I shattered my foot and had several surgeries. I didn't have some terrible experience with pain pills. I don't dislike any opiates, I think the poppy was one of the greatest medicines given to us by nature. I am very passionate about opiates and I don't think society would function well without them. I didn't even dislike my doctor, he was awesome, he even went to a lot of effort to stitch my skin back together perfectly so my tattoo was lined up - turned out perfect. I am simply saying that you can not and could never and never should put 100% trust in your doctor to make medical decisions for you. Doctors used to encourage people to smoke. Heroin was marketed as a non addictive alternative to morphine. Doctors are human beings. Many doctors are educated about new drugs by the drug company that is producing it, even paid by the company to learn about their new products. This can cause a dangerous conflict of interest! When a doctor makes a mistake, it can cost someone else a great deal. It is not really doctors as a group that are a problem, all the systems built around drugs are broken. People think the "dangerous" drugs are illegal and the ones you get at the pharmacy from your doctor are "safe." This is a perception of the public, so to them I would say, do not blindly trust your doctor. I say all those drugs can be habit forming not to say that they are bad, but that they are all very similar, and replacing one with another isn't making much of a change at all. Just because a doctor says it and all of science agrees with it.... doesn't mean you should just trust it. You can't always trust mechanics, right? I mean what is so offensive about suggesting that you can't always trust your doctor? They are just regular people who make money off you, no matter how noble of a job it is, sometimes they are in 9-5 mode, sometimes they're not at their best. Sometimes they dont actually know what theyre talking about. Human beings.

      I see another post of yours explaining the difference between being addicted and being physically dependent on a substance. I am guilty of using the incorrect terminology. I totally agree with you. Our collective "story" about what addiction is needs to change. Our "story" about legal vs illegal drugs needs to change. The drug laws need to change. It's not doctors' fault, but they certainly aren't out there as crusaders for change.

    5. Jennifer

      Well, Piqo, I couldn't agree with you more. People should never place absolute trust in *anyone* (mechanics included - doctors really *are* just mechanics, I'm not sure how they ended-up so much more respected than someone who fixes cars), and I agree with you that the system built around drugs is dangerously broken. You're right - there isn't anything inherently "dangerous" about drugs like marijuana - and I am completely fed-up, as a physician with receiving notices telling me that drugs I've been prescribing for years are now found to cause a host of problems we weren't previously aware of - oops. I don't think there's anything inherently noble about the work of physicians - at least no more noble than, say, the work my secretary does (who on many days, probably works at least as hard as I do), however, I think I'm probably atypical as a doctor, since I didn't even attend medical school until I was 35, and had an entirely different career prior to medicine. At the end of the day, I think we're saying the same thing - I just wanted to be a voice on the other side of the issue, because I think it's too easy these days to be a critic. However, I completely agree that physicians are not "crusaders for change," as you point out - as a colleague of mine once said, "you don't want to be creative as a doctor - the best you can do is what someone else in your situation would have done." Legally, that will keep you in the clear, but unfortunately, it doesn't make for too many trailblazers in the field! Thanks for the considered reply - cheers!