You may have heard about a drug called Actiq – a berry-flavored lozenge on a stick that looks and tastes like a lollipop. It was approved by the FDA for cancer patients only, but is being prescribed for everything from migraines to back pain, and has found its way to the street. Actiq contains fentanyl, a highly-addictive drug 80 times more powerful than heroin or morphine. It is a very dangerous drug, and someone who’s using it should get into drug rehab as fast as possible. Here are the statistics.
The FDA approved Actiq for cancer patients who suffer from severe spikes of pain not controlled by their long-acting chronic pain medication. However, one study found that of the 187,076 prescriptions filled over a six-month period, only 1 percent were written by oncologists. Widespread OxyContin addiction has proven that prescription painkillers have high potential for abuse and it appears that Actiq is following in its footsteps.
To date, Actiq prescriptions for non-cancer pain has led to at least 127 deaths – including two children who confused the drug for candy. Another 47 deaths were linked to overdoses. Actiq’s manufacturer, Cephalon, Inc., has also reported 91 serious, nonfatal incidents ranging from respiratory distress to severe dehydration.
Over the last few years, Actiq on the street has been linked hundreds of overdose deaths and injuries and drug abuse treatment centers across the country have reported increasing numbers of lollipop addicts turning up for drug rehab. Known by abusers as "perc-o-pops" or simply “lollipops”, Actiq is usually obtained through forged prescriptions or bought from people with legitimate prescriptions.
Although it is legal for doctors to prescribe a drug for a purpose other than which it was approved, the situation has gotten out of hand.
This drug is so addictive that one woman spent her entire pregnancy on “one big high sucking lollipops” until she gave birth. She was prescribed the drug for headaches. Needless to say, her baby was also born with an addiction to this powerful narcotic. The mother struggled with Actiq addiction for several more months after giving birth, and ended up in jail for forging a prescription for the drug.
She finally entered a successful drug rehab program to get help and, really, with a drug this dangerous, that’s your only hope. And with the death and other incident toll rising, the sooner the better.
By Rod MacTaggart