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Oxycontin Addiction Help-Line
OxyContin Deaths Effects

OxyContin Painkiller Linked to More Than 400 Deaths.

The federal Drug Enforcement Administration said last week that an expanded review of autopsy data had suggested that the painkiller OxyContin might have played a role in 464 drug overdose deaths in the last two years, a figure sharply higher than the agency's previous estimate.

In April 2002, the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) reported that OxyContin had been implicated as the direct cause or main contributing factor in 146 deaths and a likely contributor in an additional 318 deaths.

The DEA based its findings on an a survey of state medical examiners using autopsy data. The DEA said it received a total of 949 reports, in which half involved OxyContin based upon an analysis victim's bodies.

The DEA noted that in 88 of the cases the victim had moderate to high levels of alcohol in their blood, which triggers a life-threatening drug interaction. Interestingly, only nine of the reported deaths involved injecting the drug and only one death related to snorting, which are deemed more dangerous forms of OxyContin abuse. This indicates even non-abusers may be adversely affected.

Doctor gets 63 years in OxyContin deaths case

MILTON -- A doctor convicted of manslaughter in the deaths of four patients who overdosed on the painkiller OxyContin and other drugs received a sentence of nearly 63 years in prison Friday.

Dr. James Graves was the nation's first doctor to be found guilty of manslaughter or murder in an OxyContin death.

Graves remained defiant, telling prosecutor Russell Edgar that one day both of them would have to "stand before God."

"I pray to God something will change and somehow (Edgar) will come to know Christ," Graves told Circuit Judge Kenneth Bell.

"I pray to God something will change and somehow (Edgar) will come to know Christ," Graves told Circuit Judge Kenneth Bell.

Edgar said Graves was not practicing medicine but was selling drugs by writing prescriptions for addicts and dealers.

"There's moral bankruptcy here," Edgar said. "He has shown no remorse for the deaths and suffering he has caused."

A jury found Graves guilty last month of manslaughter, unlawful delivery of a controlled substance and racketeering. The judge said state guidelines called for a sentence of nearly 39 years to 138 years.

"A lawful sentence for all practical purposes will be a life sentence" for the 55-year-old Graves, Bell said in imposing a sentence of 62 years and 11 months in prison.

Edgar estimated that the former Navy doctor netted about $750,000 over two years practicing in nearby Pace, but he said no one knows what happened to the money. Graves has been declared indigent and taxpayers are paying the nearly $300,000 cost of his defense.

Graves, who had a family medicine and pain management practice, testified that patients lied to him about their symptoms and no one would have died had they taken the drugs as prescribed.

In court Friday, Graves recited Bible verses and accused the father of victim Jeffrey Daniels, 30, of rejecting his son because he had become an addict. He suggested that Daniels may have killed himself.

Later, Daniels' father, Lester Daniels, grew angry and started to get up from his seat because the doctor turned and smiled. It happened while Graves' wife, Alicia, was addressing the court while standing about 6 feet from Daniels. Courtroom deputies quickly stepped forward and told Daniels to sit down, and the judge ordered a recess.

"As long as he never sees outside prison walls, that's great for me," Daniels said after sentencing. "He's slime. He's pure slime." Alicia Graves blamed drug and medical regulatory agencies for failing to take action if they thought there was a problem. "This could have been resolved," she said. "These people would still have been alive."

To counter defense testimony that Graves was of good character, the prosecution called Tamara Losito, 34, of Panama City, to the witness stand. She testified she met Graves on the Internet last year while he was free on bond. Graves claimed to be single and a member of the surgical team that reattached a boy's arm after it was bitten off by a shark near Pensacola, she said.

The doctor met her for dinner and a movie, made sexual advances and took her to a Pensacola church, Losito testified. Graves said he was just trying to get Losito to join a church-based singles group instead of looking for dates on the Internet. He also accused her of having an affair with a minister, which she returned to the witness stand to deny. The federal Drug Enforcement Administration has blamed OxyContin for 117 deaths in the past two years and suspects it caused an additional 179.

OxyContin Deaths May Top Early Count

Drug Enforcement Administration reports expanded review of autopsy data suggests painkiller OxyContin may have played role in 464 overdose deaths in past two years, figure sharply higher than agency's previous estimate; says recent media reports of hundreds of deaths attributed to drug can now be substantiated by credible scientific evidence; manufacturer Purdue Pharma disputes data, and Food and Drug Administration expresses caution; agency says its study indicates OxyContin is not threat when taken as prescribed (M) The federal Drug Enforcement Administration said last week that an expanded review of autopsy data had suggested that the painkiller OxyContin might have played a role in 464 drug overdose deaths in the last two years, a figure sharply higher than the agency's previous estimate.

But the drug's manufacturer vigorously challenged the agency's interpretation of that data and an official of another federal agency, the Food and Drug Administration, expressed caution. The company and the F.D.A. said they were also reviewing autopsy reports and the Food and Drug Administration official said that agency's study indicated that OxyContin did not appear to pose a threat when used properly.





  • Drug Facts
  • Oxycontin abusers remove the sustained-release coating to get a rush of euphoria similar to heroin. They chew the tabs...crush them for snorting...or boil the powder for injection.
  • In recent months, there have been numerous reports of OxyContin diversion and abuse in several states.
  • OxyContin, introduced in December 1995, is a time-released form of the opium derivative oxycodone.
  • OxyContin is the brand name for the time-release tablet form of oxycondon, an opium derivative similar to codeine but more powerful and more likely to be addictive.
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