Norwegian researchers are sounding alarms over a sharp rise in the use of the painkiller Oksykodon. It’s now eight times as high as it was just 15 years ago, with doctors apparently unaware of how addictive it can be.
Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reports that the drug is the same as one tied to an epidemic of overdoses in the US’ much-reported opioid crisis. It’s been blamed for creating an entirely new group of drug addicts who started using the painkiller after it was prescribed by their physicians.
NRK reported that more deaths by overdose are now tied to legal medicines than heroin. “I don’t think we’ll wind up like the US, with thousands of deaths tied to this medicine, but we are issuing warnings because we want to turn this around before it becomes a catastrophe in Norway,” Thomas Clausen, a researcher at the University of Oslo specializing in addiction, told NRK.
A spokeswoman for a physician’s organization told NRK that Oksykodon is more addictive that initially thought. Efforts are now being made to reduce usage of the painkiller.