Researchers in the medical school at Washington University in St. Louis surveyed more than 2,500 patients from 150 drug treatment centers across the U.S. The number of people who reported OxyContin as their primarily abused drug dropped from 35.6 percent before the formula change to 12.8 percent afterward. But many are simply turning to heroin or other, stronger opioids. Researcher Theodore Cicero said heroin is similar to OxyContin and this is likely the biggest reason for turning to street drug. He said heroin is also cheap and readily available.
The study, published in New England Journal of Medicine, is preliminary and does not have exact percentages on how many people switch from OxyContin to heroin. (Read more)