HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Worry Arises Concerning Oxycodone Ban
Pubdate: Thu, 21 Feb 2002
Source: The Dominion Post (WV)
Copyright: 2002 The Dominion Post
Author: AP


CHARLESTON (AP) -- While West Virginia needs to take aggressive action on 
OxyContin abuse, an outright ban on the drug's main ingredient may not be 
the best course of action, the state Bureau for Public Health commissioner 

"OxyContin and related narcotics are very useful in pain management, 
particularly in end-of-life care," Dr. Henry Taylor said Tuesday. "We need 
to balance the benefits of pain management with the problems caused by 
addiction and trafficking."

Senate Majority Leader Truman Chafin, D-Mingo, introduced a bill earlier 
this week that would put oxycodone, the active ingredient in OxyContin, on 
a Schedule I list of controlled substances that are prohibited under West 
Virginia law.

Chafin said OxyContin abuse is becoming a tragic situation in southern West 
Virginia. A Mingo County doctor pleaded guilty last week to prescribing the 
drug to a woman who didn't need it.

OxyContin is the nation's top-selling narcotic painkiller. It is a 12-hour, 
time-released medication meant to alleviate severe chronic pain.

Banning the drug's lead ingredient would deny cancer patients and other 
extreme sufferers access to other medications as well, a pharmacist from 
Hinton says.

Oxycodone is also the active ingredient in Tylox, Percocet and other 
short-term pain relievers commonly prescribed after surgery and emergency 
room treatment, pharmacist Tom Coffman says.

Coffman said Chafin's bill would place oxycodone on a list of controlled 
substances, such as heroin, which lack any medical value.

"What he is doing is one of two things -- he's either in a knee-jerk 
reaction or it's a bill on the last day to look good for the public," 
Coffman said. "There's no rational reason to do what he's doing."

Coffman recommended turning to Rational Drug Therapy, a state program that 
monitors prescriptions.

Some antihistamines are guarded in such a way, but OxyContin isn't, Coffman 
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