Oxycontin: Scope of the Problem

Sixteen-year-old Dennis Goulding probably shouldn't be here. About a year ago his Oxycontin and prescription drug problem almost killed him when he swallowed over 400 pills in a suicide attempt days after he was expelled from Valhalla High School for bringing drugs on campus.

For the next ten days young Dennis would lie in a coma at Children's Hospital, with his father looking at the possibility he would either die or survive but with severe brain damage.

Dennis' near death experience from Oxycontin is just one story in what is becoming a disturbing trend according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The more affluent areas of the county, especially communities along the Highway 56 corridor, are considered ground zero for teen Oxycontin use according to the DEA. Communities like Del Mar, Carmel Valley, Rancho Penasquitos and Poway are all affected.

Why these well-to-do areas? Simple. You've got to have money to feed an Oxycontin habit.

There is a very dark, devious and deceptive side, however, to the cost of Oxycontin. Because it's so expensive, many young users switch to heroin to get the opiate high they crave so much, and at a much lower price.

So what's a parent to look for? Because of this expensive habit, look for items missing in the home, such as cameras and other items that can be sold or traded for Oxycontin. Check your child's cell phone, especially the text messages, which reveal so much about who your son or daughter is hanging around with. And do it while they're in the shower. Look for references to 'beans,' which is another word for Oxycontin. Look for small foil strips with black burn marks which indicate the drug has been heated and then inhaled. And perhaps most importantly, don't try to be your child's friend. You're the parent.

Categories: KUSI