PHILADELPHIA, Sep 10, 2014 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Lannett Company, Inc. LCI, +3.82% today announced that it has received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of its Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) for Oxycodone Hydrochloride Oral Solution USP, 100 mg per 5 mL, the therapeutic equivalent to the reference listed drug, Oxycodone Hydrochloride Oral Solution USP, 100 mg per Continue reading
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — There was a citywide drop in oxycodone prescriptions last year, but the largest decrease came on Staten Island, according to the New York State Health Department‘s Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement.
But the news isn’t encouraging to all, especially those who are personally affected by the disease.
One Staten Island mom said her son, 21, also started with prescription pills before he became a heroin addict. She said the pills got too expensive, so he turned to heroin to get his fix because it was a much cheaper alternative.
She said he was an honor roll student who played seven instruments, and now spends his life in and out of meetings and trying to stay clean.
“This has completely destroyed my family,” she said. “He doesn’t have a life.
“It’s great they’re cutting down on prescriptions, but now they’re starting with heroin.”
Luke Nasta, executive director of Camelot Counseling Center, agreed the turn from prescription pills to heroin was a foreseen consequence when doctors and pharmaceutical companies began being targeted for over-prescribing the addictive painkillers.
“It’s not a surprise,” Nasta said. “I’m very cautious about any positive news because it suggests we’re advancing in controlling this problem. But we’re not anywhere near that. It’s a minor indication we’re going in the right direction.”
From 2012 to 2013, Staten Island oxycodone prescriptions filled went down from 141,430 to 134,011. During the same time, hydrocodone prescriptions dropped 23 percent from 71,877 to 55,651, according to the state health department.
Assistant city health commissioner Dr. Hillary Kunins recently said that there was a strong push on Staten Island last summer to persuade physicians from writing more opioid prescriptions. Health department employees went door-to-door to speak to doctors about the issue, according to a report in Capital.
In 2013, New York City residents filled 1.27 million prescriptions for oxycodone, which was down about 10,000 prescriptions or one percent from 2012. That comes after a five-year period that saw oxycodone prescriptions increase by approximately 125 percent in New York City.
“There’s been a heightened awareness by everyone — the community, local officials, law enforcement — that we have an epidemic of prescription drugs,” Nasta said. “The commitment and awareness has begun to show a positive affect.”
According to the state health department, the significant decrease came in March 2013 after hydrocodone was reclassified a Schedule II narcotic, which means that patients would have to have written prescriptions — no more calling it in — and no more refills without a doctor’s visit. Programs like I-Stop also led to decreased pill prescriptions, experts said.
The report comes on the heels of a New York City Health Department report last week that said opioid overdose deaths on Staten Island have decreased over the last three years, while overall heroin deaths have increased in New York City.
“The new data confirms everything that I have been told by providers of drug treatment services, which is that prescription opioids are becoming more difficult to obtain, and more and more people are turning to heroin,” Borough President James Oddo said in a statement o the Advance. “This is an issue that affects all of our neighborhoods, and far too many Staten Islanders have been affected by addiction in some way. Staten Islanders — our neighbors and friends — are dying. But, as is true nationwide, this is an issue that is multifaceted and complex to solve.”
Two men have been arrested on federal drug charges stemming from the 2011 death of former New York Rangers enforcer Derek Boogaard, who overdosed on oxycodone and alcohol after a violent hockey career that left him brain damaged and addicted to painkilling drugs.