The aftermath is still unknown, as Oxycontin is no longer being made in Canada, as of March 1.
The pain killer has been replaced with a new formula called – OxyNeo.
Marshall Phinney, executive director at the Westover Treatment Centre in Thamesville, says users of Oxycontin will no longer by able to abuse the drug.
“When it came in tablet form they were able to crush it, snort it, and inject it and get the euphoria immediately,” he said. “Now the drug is designed so they can’t do that. Which means those that were abusing it are going to struggle quite a bit to find that high or to get feeling back again. They will wither have to go to another drug like heroin, or another drug to substitute drug to help them through it.
Phinney said many Oxycontin abusers will experience withdrawal symptoms, and support systems will be needed.
“I see some of our services are going to be really pushed to the limit,” he said.
Phinney said he has seen an increase in the number of Oxycontin users at the Thamesville site over the last two or three years.
“Three or four of every 10 clients that comes into Westover Treatment Centre have been addicted or have been effected by Oxycontin,” he said. “That was becoming a major problem in treatment and in society around us. We don’t know how this is really going to turn out and what kind of pressures are going to be put on the system, but we are watching and waiting to see what happens.”
Without knowing the results or what kind of effects these changes will have, Phinney said he has some concerns.
He fears there won’t be enough support systems in place for users looking to go into detox, as Chatham-Kent does not offer any withdrawal management program, the closest are in London and Windsor. Phinney added he is concerned users of Oxycontin will resort to other illegal narcotics as an alternative.
“They might mix more drugs and get involved with things that they are not used to… and that could be serious for them,” he said.
Westover treatment Centre serves clients from all over Southwestern Ontario.