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.
Group to target OxyContin maker in Orlando rally

By Doris Bloodsworth
Sentinel Staff Writer

November 17, 2003

Relatives Against Purdue Pharma, a group that blames the maker of painkiller
OxyContin for addiction and overdose suffered by loved ones, says it will
protest this week at an Orlando drug-prevention conference supported by Gov. Jeb

At least a dozen members of the group plan to rally Wednesday morning outside an
Orlando resort while Florida first lady Columba Bush leads about 1,500 drug
counselors and educators in a session called "Empowering Others to Act." The
protesters are from Florida and seven other states.

Purdue Pharma of Stamford, Conn., is one of 31 exhibitors scheduled to be at the
annual conference that will run Tuesday through Thursday at the Caribe Royale
Resort near Epcot. The drug company will display its Painfully Obvious program
aimed at educating parents, teachers and students about the dangers of abusing
prescription medicines.

Protest organizer Ed Bisch of Philadelphia said the group, made up mostly of
parents of overdose victims and patients who say they became accidentally
addicted, want to raise awareness about abuse, addiction and overdose tied to
the narcotic painkiller.

"We are sick that kids can buy these pills, which are supposedly a controlled
substance, on any street corner," said Bisch, whose 18-year-old son, Eddie, died
Feb. 19, 2001 after drinking beer and splitting a 40-milligram OxyContin tablet
with a friend.

Betty Tully, 41, of Chicago plans to be part of the Orlando protest. Tully said
she was prescribed OxyContin two years ago for back pain. She took the
medication for 10 months in 2001.

"I got a doctor who was sold on the drug and didn't know what he was doing," she
said. "I lost my job, my home, my health care and my once hard-earned future

The protest comes at a time when Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist said he
is considering an investigation into problems attributed to OxyContin.

Bisch said the loosely formed group evolved after he posted a story on his
oxyabuse Web site about a Connecticut mother leading an Oct. 23
protest at Purdue's headquarters. Kay Kelley-Moretti of Milford, Conn., carried
a poster-size photo of her son, Jason Kelley, 27, who died June 6 from an
overdose after she said he became addicted to the painkiller. Kelley-Moretti
said a Florida doctor prescribed her only child OxyContin after he was injured
in a spring-break motorcycle accident in Daytona Beach three years ago.

Purdue Pharma spokesman Jim Heins said Friday, "We offer our sincere condolences
to anyone who has suffered the loss of a loved one from a drug overdose. Such
loss is a devastating blow that no mere words can adequately address."

Heins added that Purdue's marketing of OxyContin had been "appropriate" and that
the company had "placed considerable emphasis on educating prescribers on
pain-treatment guidelines that include the appropriate use of opioid

Some hail drug as 'miracle'

OxyContin is a time-released oxycodone medication originally marketed for cancer
pain. Sometimes called "heroin in a pill," it was linked recently to a
prescription-drug investigation involving Rush Limbaugh. The conservative
talk-radio commentator is scheduled to return to the airwaves today, according
to his Web site.

The protesters often find themselves at odds with chronic-pain patients who call
OxyContin a "miracle drug." Some interviewed by the Sentinel say the medication
allows them to function and sleep through the night.

"This is a good drug when it's used as prescribed," said Chris Bryan, 55, of
Orlando, who takes OxyContin for dystonia, a painful neurological disorder.

Many attending the conference are well aware of prescription-drug abuse.

Luis Delgado, a Seminole County addictions counselor and a conference speaker,
said legally prescribed medications are the new "gateway drugs" for adults,
leading them to abuse other substances.

Florida medical examiners reported a total of 573 people died in 2001 and 2002
from lethal amounts of oxycodone, the active ingredient in OxyContin and dozens
of other painkillers. That compared with 521 deaths from heroin during the same
time period.

A nine-month Orlando Sentinel investigation including a review of 500 autopsy
reports found OxyContin was the drug identified in about 83 percent of the 247
oxycodone-overdose cases linked to a specific medication. In the remaining 253
oxycodone deaths, a brand-name drug was not determined.

In its review, the paper also found that people in their teens and 20s accounted
for 100 of the oxycodone deaths, while most of the deceased were middle-age
white men.

Gov. Bush, who will kick off the conference Tuesday morning, and Jim McDonough,
head of the state's Office of Drug Control, say they will push legislators to
approve a prescription-monitoring system aimed at preventing overprescribing and

The state's medical examiners reported that in the first six months 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 for the same time period in 2003.

2002 deal with state

Purdue Pharma pledged $2 million toward the prescription-tracking program when
the state ended an investigation into the company's marketing of OxyContin.
Former Attorney General Bob Butterworth promised the state would never sue
Purdue for any actions up to the Nov. 1, 2002, agreement.

Some members of the protest group said they would like to see a
prescription-tracking system nationwide. And if the program gets necessary
legislative approval in Florida, the software will be offered free to other

Lee Nuss of Palm Coast, one of the protesters whose son died after witnesses
said he abused OxyContin, said she is angry that the state did not hold Purdue
Pharma accountable for the addiction and overdose deaths in Florida.

"I'm mad at Florida and Butterworth," Nuss, 56, said. "For what Purdue pays
their lawyers each month, they could afford a system for the whole country," she
added, referring to the hundreds of lawsuits the company is defending against
accusations OxyContin was defective or promoted aggressively, leading to
addiction and overdose.

Purdue officials said they have successfully fought about 50 lawsuits without
paying settlements.

Progress being made

Columba Bush knows what it's like to anguish over a family member caught in the
vice of addiction.

Bush told high-school students at last year's conference that she devoted her
life to fighting drug abuse after learning of daughter Noelle's addiction. At
the time, Noelle Bush, now 26, was undergoing treatment in Orange County's
drug-court program after a January 2002 arrest in Tallahassee on a charge she
tried to use a fake prescription to buy the antianxiety drug Xanax.

Noelle Bush graduated from drug court in August 2003, and the charge was

McDonough said that despite the challenges of prescription-drug abuse and
addiction, the state is making progress on its 1999 pledge to cut illegal drug
use in half by 2005.

A survey this year of nearly 8,000 Florida teens showed almost every category of
illegal drug use had declined during the past three years. Heroin use decreased
by 50 percent, powder cocaine by 40 percent. Depressants, such as tranquilizers,
rose 35 percent.

Crist said recently that the Attorney General's Office is researching the legal
ramifications of several actions where Purdue and prescription-drug abuse is

"Doing nothing is not an option," he said.

Crist said some of the initiatives he is considering include opening a new
investigation into Purdue's marketing of OxyContin, and looking for ways to cut
down on Medicare and Medicaid fraud tied to overprescribing of prescription

State officials estimate about 10 percent of payments are fraudulent. Florida
officials said the state paid $1.8 billion in Medicaid payments during the
fiscal year ending 2002, the most recent figures available. Medicaid payments
for OxyContin came to more than $30 million last year, state records show. That
was Florida's fourth-highest Medicaid payment for prescription drugs.

Protesters said they hope Wednesday's demonstration will push state and federal
officials to take action. But they also want pharmaceutical companies to be more

"Purdue Pharma can and should do more to fight the OxyContin problem," Bisch

Doris Bloodsworth can be reached at [email protected] or

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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.

It is highly addictive when abused...
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.