Friday, July 15, 2011

Drug Alert Watch - Oxymorphone

States Reporting Oxymorphone-Related Dealths Since January 2008
   The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has issued a "Drug Alert Watch" to law enforcement and public health officials regarding the increase in the abuse of oxymorphone. The DOJ in their drug alert stated, " Law enforcement and public health officials throughout the country are reporting that oxymorphone abuse is increasing. Oxymorphone is most commonly known by the brand name Opana®. The deathsRof at least nine Louisville area residents between January and April 2011 have been linked to polydrug abuse of oxymorphone in combination with alprazolam and/or alcohol; more oxymorphone-related deaths are expected to be confirmed as toxicology testing is completed on other decedents. Since January 2008, oxymorphone-related deaths also have been reported in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Washington (see map). Additionally, in March 2009, Newport (TN) law enforcement authorities reported that oxymorphone resulted in five fatal overdoses within a 3-month period.” 1

Can I use "oxymorphone" in the Air Force?
Yes, only when a military member or civilian employee with a medical diagnosis that is being treated by using oxymorphone.  The drug is typically used to reduce moderate or severe pain in patients.
If a military member is using oxymorphone, then the member is required to have a current prescription on file with their home station medical clinic.  Failure to have a current prescription when using  oxymorphone is consider abusing the drug and if the member tested positive for the drug, the member can be prosecuted under the UCMJ. Furthermore, if a member has not report the use of the drug and the member tested positive for oxymorphone, then the member is consider to have illegally used the drug until the member can provide documentation that proves the member has a legitimate current prescription for treatment of their medical condition.  In addition, the military member would not be allowed to participate for pay and points until the case has been processed.
A civilian employee is not required to have a current prescription on file.  However, a civilian employee using oxymorphone without a current prescription can be discipline or discharged for the illicit use of a controlled substance. If an employee’s drug test is positive.  The employee would be contacted by the Medical Review Officer (MRO).  The MRO will request documentation, from the employee, that shows the employee had a current prescription.  If the prescription is not current or the employee had no legitimate reason to be on oxymorphone, then the employee could be disciplined or discharged from employment.

Specifications on Oxymorphones:

Description: See figure 2

Figure 2

2Common Effects: Blue, cold and clammy skin; difficult and slow breathing; numbness in the arms or legs; pinpoint pupils; dizziness; severe drowsiness; slow or irregular heartbeat; coma; nausea; increase heart rate and blood pressure; confusion; pain relief; euphoria; death; addiction.
Packaging: Tablets; suppository and injectable solutions.

Can be bought at: Pharmacies with a legal prescription. Illicit drug markets (such as: schools, workplace public and private locations) by drug dealers or friends.

2Common Names:      Blues, biscuits, blue haven, new blues, octagons, stop signs, pink, pink heaven, pink lady Mrs. O, OM, Pink O, The O bomb.

Users: Primary users are caucasian young adults from the age of 18 to 25 years old. Female users of the drug are slightly higher than male users.

3Cost:                      $40 to $65 per 40-milligram tablet

1Drug Alert Watch, U.S. Department of Justice, SENTRY Watch,, EWS Report 000011, 19 May 2011.
2National Institute of Drug Abuse, Selected Prescription Drugs with Potential for Abuse,, April 2005.
3 Drug Intelligence Brief, OPANA Abuse, DEA Philadelphia Division Intelligence Program, May 2011.