By Harriet Ryan, Lisa Girion, and Scott Glover, LA Times. May 5, 2016:
"OxyContin’s stunning success masked a fundamental problem: The drug wears off hours early in many people, a Los Angeles Times investigation found. OxyContin is a chemical cousin of heroin, and when it doesn’t last, patients can experience excruciating symptoms of withdrawal, including an intense craving for the drug."
OxyContin is widely blamed for setting off an opioid abuse epidemic that has claimed over 199,000 lives in the US since 1999. In 2007, the company and three top executives pleaded guilty to fraud for downplaying the drug’s risks of addiction, and were ordered to pay $635 million in fines.