OxyContin is Approved for Medical Use

The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) gives the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency the right to regulate pharmaceutical controlled substances. This allows the agency to try and "prevent, detect and investigate the diversion of legally manufactured controlled substances while, at the same time, ensuring that there are adequate supplies to meet the legitimate medical needs in the United States."

In order to do this, there are five schedules that separate controlled substances based on their approved medical use and abuse potential. Drugs under the Schedule I category are deemed to have no established medical use and a very high potential to be abused. Schedule II drugs, which include OxyContin, are those that have a very high potential to be abused but are approved for medical use. Drugs under schedules III, IV and V are approved for medical use and have less potential for abuse.

The Controlled Substances Act mandates that drugs be prescribed, dispensed and administered only for "legitimate medical purposes by practitioners acting in the usual course of their professional practice. " But this is not always the case. For instance, there are some doctors who knowingly overprescribe this drug. There are also plenty of so-called pain management clinics and "pill mills" that dole out this drug without asking many questions.

OxyContin Abuse and Addiction Statistics Are Sobering

Despite the efforts of the DEA's Controlled Substances Act, OxyContin and other opioid painkillers have flooded the black market and can be easy to find in just about every community in the country. OxyContin is a prescription narcotic painkiller meant to treat moderate to severe pain that is around the clock and expected to endure. It is not intended for people on an as-needed basis.

Since it was introduced to the U.S. market in 1996, OxyContin has been linked to numerous cases of overdose and accidental death. OxyContin addiction has skyrocketed, among legitimate chronic pain sufferers and those who abuse the drug for its "high." The impact this drug has had on society is hard to ignore. People who become addicted will often do whatever they have to in order to get the drug. This is why the drug is so often linked to cases of diversion, prescription fraud, theft and various property crimes.

According to the DEA, the number of OxyContin prescriptions increased 20-fold, to about 6 million, between 1996 and 2000. It has continued to increase since then, and most recent figures from federal officials show that emergency room visits from opioid overdoses doubled to more than 1.2 million between 2004 and 2009. OxyContin accounts for a significant portion of these overdose statistics, officials say.

Drug treatment centers across the country have reported a significant increase in the number of people seeking OxyContin detox. This can be accomplished with programs at detox and rehab centers. Some methods include opiate replacement therapy and rapid opiate detox.