Damascus High

lollipop Not to make light of substance abuse in young people, be it prescription or street drugs, you still have to admit this story is rather amusing, and alarming.

Damascus High School officials have discovered that upwards of 50 “lollipops,” designed for chronic pain management in cancer and similar patients, have been circulating through the school and the surrounding neighborhoods.

Marketed under the brand name Actiq, the active ingredient is Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid agonist that is 80 times more powerful than morphine. And like poppy-based street drugs such as heroin, it is just as addictive.

Although this is the first I’ve heard of it, apparently illicit use of the drug has been a growing problem over the past several years. On the street, it is nicknamed “perc-a-pop.” How cute is that? In my day, drugs had scary sounding names like “acid” and “X.”

How many licks does it take to get to the center? Don’t bite down to get there or you may find yourself overdosing. Like patches, the release of the drug is designed to be slowly absorbed by the body—although the sweet, raspberry flavored lozenges might be too tempting, especially for kids.

4 Comments so far

  1. Don (unregistered) on February 22nd, 2007 @ 8:59 am

    I forgot to mention yesterday (maybe I was high) – good choice of posting time, Doug.

  2. Doug (unregistered) on February 22nd, 2007 @ 9:02 am

    I was wondering if anyone would catch that, hehe…

  3. Will (unregistered) on February 22nd, 2007 @ 11:18 am

    The really crappy thing about this is that the drug company manufacturing the drug promotes alternate uses of the drug – they give their drug reps incentives and send them to doctors who never see cancer patients.

    Fentanyl gets prescribed for chronic pain, migraines and a bunch of other stuff that it’s not supposed to be used for. It’s really only supposed to be for cancer patients. I think the stat was that oncologists represented less than 10% of drug sales (and while primary care doctors do see cancer patients and prescribe drugs, it’s difficult to defend the statistics)

    I’m pretty sure the drug company has gotten sued, but Fentanyl is a great example of how drug sales are abused both by illegal pushers AND the drug manufacturers.

  4. Doug (unregistered) on February 22nd, 2007 @ 11:32 am

    My first reaction was: a candy-flavored synthetic narcotic (no needles, no pills, no patch) and the people who came up with this brilliant idea never thought for a moment it didn’t have the potential for abuse?

    Does anyone remember candy cigarettes? They’re illegal now, even though they really were candy.

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