There is no medical symptom which is more common than pain, millions of us suffer it and almost all of us will suffer it at some stage in our lives, even if we are lucky enough for it to come at the very end of an otherwise long and healthy life. Where there are symptoms there are big pharmaceutical companies looking for cures, healthcare is big money. The poster pill for chronic pain treatment is a drug named Oxycontin, a strong semi-synthetic opiate. Whilst many users of the drug can claim that it has drastically improved their quality of life, Oxycontin and similar opioids are also causing problems in the Western world, a new epidemic of prescription drug addiction.
The problem with Oxycontin is that whilst it is extremely effective in doing its job of treating pain, it is also highly addictive and those who develop a physical dependency on the drug will experience extreme withdrawal symptoms. Many who are prescribed the drug for substantial periods of time, for example those recovering from major surgery, will find themselves dependent on the drug. There has also been a thriving black market supplying recreational users.
Oxycontin: Time Bomb is a Canadian CBC production which looks at the rise of prescription drug addiction in Canada. The country has recorded the second highest number of opioid painkiller addicts in the world and the second highest death rate from overdoses. The documentary explores why GPs and medical schools embraced the drug in Canada and why they are now changing their mind.