Opioid Marketing and Heroin Trends

Oxycodone is an opiate agonist that is the active ingredient in a number of narcotic pain medications, including Percocet, Percodan, and OxyContin.

When Purdue Pharma introduced OxyContin in 1996, it was aggressively marketed and highly promoted. Sales grew from $48 million in 1996 to almost $1.1 billion in 2000.

Today, the first lawsuit blaming Purdue Pharma for the opioid crisis came to a resolution:

Purdue Pharma LP has forged the first deal to resolve more than 1,600 lawsuits blaming the OxyContin maker for fueling the opioid crisis, a move that could lay the groundwork for the resolution of the rest of the litigation. The company and its owners, the Sackler family, agreed to pay $270 million to resolve a lawsuit filed by Oklahoma’s attorney general, the majority of which will fund a national opioid addiction center.

Wall Street Journal – March 26, 2019

The sad reality is that once on these types of drugs the addiction is real. And when access to these pharmaceuticals isn’t available thorough insurance, heroin becomes a cheaper alternative. Since these street drugs aren’t regulated, the quality is suspect and dosage is uncertain, leading to overdose. A group of researchers was able to show that internet searches for opioids can predict future emergency department heroin admission.

There are now many areas of the country where Heroin searches outnumber the amount of Oxycodone searches.