A new prescription drug addiction is on the rise in Western Pennsylvania, and doctors said it is starting to replace Oxycontin as the drug of choice in the city and suburbs.
A Washington County doctor was charged this year with misprescribing the drug Opana, and a Moon Township mother was recently arrested on charges of selling the powerful painkiller.
“We clearly have an epidemic of prescription drug abuse in the country and particularly in our region,” said Dr. Neil Capretto, medical director at Gateway Rehabilitation.
Capretto used to treat one or two people with Opana addictions a month. Now he said he's treating 10 to 15 per week, including some teenagers.
“With the power of Opana we have seen several people go from heroin to Opana because of the potency,” Capretto said.
Opana is also known as oxymorphone and was designed for people with high levels of pain, like terminally ill cancer patients.
It’s two to three times stronger than Oxycontin, making it a potentially deadly addiction, Capretto said.
One recovering addict said the drug is popular because, unlike Oxycontin, it can be crushed and snorted.
“It definitely hits you quicker. If you snort…More at Powerful prescription drug Opana becoming new drug of choice – WPXI Pittsburgh