Origins of Oxycodone

Origins of Oxycodone

Oxycodone has become a widely abused prescription drug

The field of medicine has made great advancements over the past century, and it continues to do so. Today, people use a number of medicines that are safe for the body and that do not produce serious side effects. However, back in 1916 things were much different in the world of medicine, especially in regard to oxycodone, a powerful opiate that makes up several painkillers that are currently in circulation.

Nearly 100 years ago, Freund and Speyer of the University of Frankfurt developed oxycodone from a chemical known as thebaine, an opioid alkaloid that produces stimulant rather than depressant effects. The reason for this development was that Bayer, now commonly known for its production of aspirin, stopped producing heroin for pain relief, because the drug caused the many physical and psychological problems that modern people are well aware of. As a result of Bayer quitting to produce heroin, Freund and Speyer sought a drug that would treat pain while avoiding devastating side effects, so they developed oxycodone. This drug helped pain patients receive care without running the risk of dependency as with heroin.

Oxycodone came to the US right as World War II began in 1939. From there, it took until the 1960’s for it to be given a Schedule II label by the government. In 1995, the Food and Drug Administration approved it officially under the name OxyContin. Today, both regular OxyContin and OxyContin extended release are frequently prescribed to pain patients, even though a great deal of negativity has also developed as a result of its popularity.

Over the past 19 years, OxyContin has quickly catapulted to being a widely abused prescription drug. Millions of people each year take this medication, and, while some of them take it as directed, even more people abuse it at shocking rates. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, at least 11 million people will abuse OxyContin this year.

The abuse of OxyContin has far surpassed what Freund and Speyer might have ever imagined back in 1916 when they created the drug. More often than not, this drug is being abused for its mind-numbing effects: those who abuse it often do so to drown out emotional issues, to feed a chemical dependency or to fit in with others that also use the drug. While it is still used responsibly by some people, this drug has quickly become a commonly abused drug in the US and shows little sign of slowing down.

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