The purpose of this site is to bring awareness on how easy it is to overdose Oxycontin(Oxy's) it's other ABUSE dangers and the dangers of Prescription Drug Abuse
   in the memory of Eddie Bisch.
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Drug fight falls to teens

By Doris Bloodsworth
Sentinel Staff Writer

November 19, 2003

Gov. Jeb Bush spoke out Tuesday morning in Orlando about runaway prescription-drug abuse, calling upon teenagers statewide to change the culture that has led to five Florida residents daily dying from legal medications.

"The best way to deal with this is to prevent it from happening in the first place," Bush told the 1,500 adult and youth counselors and educators attending the annual drug-prevention conference at the Caribe Royale Resort near Epcot.

"That means the next generation of Floridians needs to rise up and say, 'We're not going to be like our parents. We're going to focus on the things that are just and right and loving and wholesome.' "

Jim McDonough, head of the governor's Office of Drug Control, said prescription-drug abuse is the biggest obstacle to the state's goal of cutting illegal drug use to half of its 1998 levels by 2005.

Bush also renewed his determination to stem abuse by pushing legislators to pass a bill authorizing a prescription tracking system.

Purdue Pharma, the Connecticut-based maker of the painkiller OxyContin, pledged $2 million toward the monitoring system in a Nov. 1, 2002, agreement. The state, in turn, ended a yearlong investigation into the company's marketing practices and promised never to sue Purdue for actions up to that point.

"Over the last two years, Col. McDonough and I have worked hard to pass legislation to regulate this part of life in a better way, so we can track the folks that are pharmacy shopping or the doctors that are overprescribing, creating a marketplace for OxyContin and other drugs that lead to overdoses you've read about in this very paper, the Orlando Sentinel," Bush said.

Last month, a Sentinel investigation of 500 deaths from oxycodone, an ingredient in dozens of painkillers, found OxyContin was the drug identified in about 83 percent of the 247 oxycodone cases linked to a specific medication. In the remaining 253 oxycodone deaths, the paper did not determine a brand-name drug.

Florida medical examiners reported last month that in the first half of this year 392 people died from overdoses of illegal drugs, which included cocaine, heroin, Ecstasy and GHB. In contrast, 563 people died from prescription drugs that included painkillers, such as methadone, oxycodone and hydrocodone, and tranquilizers called benzodiazepines.

Statewide, oxycodone deaths rose from 122 during the first six months of 2002 to 136 in the same time period in 2003. Deaths from methadone, which is often used to wean people from opioids such as OxyContin, rose from 140 in the first half of 2002 to 174 this year.

The governor and McDonough noted painkillers used properly help thousands who depend on medication for pain relief. As an example, Bush said he used OxyContin after he was injured on a boat.

"I used it right, thankfully," he said.

At a news conference after his speech, Bush was asked about his daughter, Noelle, 26, who graduated in August from Orange County's drug-court program after a January 2002 arrest for trying to buy the antianxiety drug Xanax with a fake prescription.

"She's doing fine, but the road to recovery is a long one for a lot of people," he said. Bush said he and his wife, Columba, who will lead this morning's session, love their daughter unconditionally.

Asked whether Rush Limbaugh might benefit from the same drug-court program, the governor said he didn't know enough about the conservative commentator's condition to say.

The three-day conference is focusing on leadership and unity among the many drug-abuse prevention and awareness programs in Florida.

Eric Quinones, attending the conference from West Palm Beach, said his federally funded Safe Schools program includes prescription-drug abuse awareness and also addresses underage alcohol problems, another focus of the conference.

Many teens spent their breaks between sessions looking at exhibits, including one by Purdue Pharma. The Florida National Guard had one of the most popular displays, which featured healthy and diseased pig lungs to demonstrate the consequences of smoking tobacco.

The demonstration showed that it took more effort to inflate the diseased lung than the healthy one.

When the workshops continue today, about a dozen protesters calling themselves Relatives Against Purdue Pharma plan to rally outside the resort.

"Our main points are we want Purdue investigated, we want OxyContin reclassified for severe pain, and we want to make sure Palladone [a stronger narcotic from the company] does not get approved for moderate pain," said Ed Bisch, of Philadelphia.

Bisch started a Web site, oxyabusekills.com, after his son Eddie, 18, died after drinking beer and splitting an OxyContin tablet with a friend in February 2001.

Doris Bloodsworth can be reached at dbloodswort[email protected] or 407-420-5446.

 



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The abuse of prescription drugs represents close to 30% of the overall drug problem in the United States, a close second to only cocaine, according to the DEA.

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Internet Health-Care

Edward Barbieri, a toxicologist at National Medical Services in Willow
Grove, said anyone can die from it if they chew it or crush it and then take it.