Prescription drugs: The city’s newest war

If their doctors refuse to write them a prescription, people can easily order painkillers like OxyContin over the Internet or buy them off the street for $5 a pill, said Dr. Arnold Washton, director of Recovery Option drug treatment center in Midtown.

There’s a battlefront in New York City’s war on drugs, and it doesn’t involve crack cocaine or heroin.
Prescription painkiller abuse is now one of the top concerns for law enforcement officials and doctors.

New York City has seen an 80 percent increase from 2007 to 2010 in admissions to crisis drug treatment programs for those addicted to pills like Vicodin, OxyContin and Percocet, according to state health officials.

“It’s a fast-growing problem in northern Manhattan as it is across New York City,” said the city’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor, Bridget Brennan, at a meeting last week with White House drug czar Gil Kerlikowske to discuss the burgeoning epidemic.

Painkiller addiction poses a unique challenge because of the medical infrastructure. “These drugs are prescribed by doctors and obtained through legitimate pharmacies,” Brennan said.

Young adults and teens are particularly at risk for pill addiction, warns Dr. Deni Carise, chief clinical officer at the Phoenix House rehab center, because of the availability of drugs in their homes and the existence of “pill parties.” “Everyone grabs pills from medicine cabinets, puts them in a bowl, takes a handful and sees what happens,” said Carise.

Addict: ‘I?set my house on fire’

NEW JERSEY. Metro spoke to a Guttenberg, N.J, entrepreneur, C., 54, who was addicted to painkillers for eight years:

“It started with back pain,” he recalled. A doctor prescribed him 30 5mg pills of Percocet, but when he ran out, the same doctor handed him a prescription for 500 40 mg of OxyContin.

“I would take 6 to 8 in a half hour,” said C., who has since entered rehab and been clean for the past four years. “I was a mad man.”

At times when he was low on pills, he would pull up the carpet of his house looking for drugs. He got into dozens of car accidents due to the sedatives, but always denied he had a problem.

“I set my house on fire,” he said. “That’s when I realized something was wrong.”

Follow Emily Anne Epstein on Twitter @EmilyatMetro.
 



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Mayor pledges lower greenhouse gas emissions from New…

Just hours before the start of the People’s Climate March on Sunday, and two days ahead of the United Nations Climate Summit, Mayor Bill de…

National

The best places to see the Northern Lights…

A large solar storm hit the Earth's atmosphere and will tonight illuminate the skies with aurora borealis -- also known as the Northern Lights.

Local

Police officer killed Sunday morning Bronx crash, 8…

One NYPD police officer was killed and eight other officers were injured early Sunday morning when the van they were traveling in crashed  in the…

National

Pennsylvania police shooter manhunt near home of suspect's…

A police manhunt intensified on Friday for the gunman who killed an officer and wounded another in an ambush at a Pennsylvania police barracks a week ago.

Television

'How to Get Away with' mischaracterizing Shondra Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes read Alessandra Stanley's New York Times piece about her being "an angry black woman" and "a romance writer" and it did not sit well with her.

Gossip

New nude celebrity selfies leak … and Clay…

A new batch of nude selfies of Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, Vanessa Hudgens, Lake Bell and Avril Lavigne hit the web and Clay Aiken has something to say!

Television

James Spader's route to villainy on "The Blacklist"

In honor of the second season premiere of "The Blacklist" tonight, where James Spader plays good guy/bad guy Raymond “Red” Reddington, it’s a good time to look back at Spader’s…

Television

True Detective

NFL

Jay Cutler takes Marc Trestman's coaching to heart

While Jay Cutler turned to an autobiography on the man who would be his head coach, Trestman had personal experience with the player.

NFL

Jets vs. Bears: 3 things to watch

Jets fans likely chalked up Monday's matchup with the Bears as a loss when the NFL schedule came out. But given their team's play so…

NFL

Rashad Jennings carries Giants in first win this…

Rashad Jennings, who came to New York from Oakland last year, by way of Jacksonville, was highly coveted this offseason by general manager Jerry Reese.

NFL

3 things we learned as Giants pick up…

The Giants picked up their first win of the season over the Texans.

Career

Here's how to make the most of visit…

You’re primped, you’re looking polished, you’re prepared with a stack of resumes. Job fair hunters, unite! There are a few things to keep in mind…

Education

Learn how to study effectively and stop cramming…

Picture this: It’s midterm week, and college students everywhere are trying to frantically memorize all of the math formulas, political theories and historical facts that…

Parenting

How motherhood inspired Bethenny Frankel's new book

Bethenny Frankel's new children's book is about how her daughter and dog didn't always get alone.

Parenting

A sneaky way to serve kids fruits and…

"My First Juices and Smoothies" gives smoothie recipes for kids.