The worldwide manufacture and use of the opioid painkiller oxycodone has increased dramatically in recent years. The International Narcotics Control Board estimates that manufacture of oxycodone increased from 11.5 tons in 1998 to 75.2 tons in 2007. Legitimate use of oxycodone for pain management has increased as well as recreational abuse of the drug. Many countries are experiencing the consequences of oxycodone abuse and are taking steps to address the problem as a public health and criminal issue. This problem of oxycodone abuse is most prevalent in Canada and the United States.
According to estimates by the International Narcotics Control Board the United States consumes 82% of the world’s total supply of oxycodone which amounts to nearly half a billion tablets per year. The United States also has the world’s highest per capita consumption of oxycodone followed by Canada. The United States and Canada together consume more oxycodone than all other countries combined.
Deaths from oxycodone overdose have increased dramatically. Opioid-related deaths in Canada increased from 13.7 deaths per million residents in 1991 to 27.2 deaths per million residents in 2004. Since oxycodone is the most popularly abused opioid, it may be assumed that the majority of these cases involve oxycodone. Oxycodone abuse in Canada and the US is more prevalent in rural areas and suburbs than in the inner cities where it is often easier to obtain heroin than it is to obtain oxycodone.
While oxycodone abuse is most prevalent in North America, other areas of the world are not immune to the problem. Australia is the only country that occasionally outranks Canada and the United States in per capita opioid consumption. Illegal abuse of oxycodone began in Australia in the early years of the 21st century. Users typically crush the pills, dissolve them into a liquid and inject the solution intravenously to increase its potency and onset of action. An International Narcotics Control Board study found that 51% of Australian intravenous drug users had injected oxycodone.
The United Kingdom began to experience a large degree of oxycodone abuse along with other countries in the early 2000s. In 2002 the U.K. experienced its first oxycodone related death. Western European countries like Germany and Switzerland have also experienced oxycodone abuse in increasing rates since the beginning of the 21st century. In response many governments are increasing their monitoring of oxycodone prescriptions and establishing criminal penalties for illegal possession and distribution.
Oxycodone is regulated internationally by the United Nations and is a Schedule I Controlled Substance according to the U.N.’s Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. This international statute attempts to limit the manufacture, distribution, possession and use of oxycodone to medical purposes and attempts to limit the accumulation of large supplies of the drug.
Oxycodone is a highly addictive drug that can cause serious problems in your life. If you are addicted to oxycodone and need treatment, call us. This common problem has many successful solutions, and we can help you find the one that is right for you no matter where you are in the world or in your addiction. Our helpline is toll free, and we are available 24 hours a day.