Opana: The New Perscription Drug That Is Killing Good Midwestern Kids

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Meth labs and huffing white out behind the gym were the stories that kept parents in a panic when I was kid. But a new epidemic in Indiana reveals that we are officially in new era of senseless young deaths thanks to lethal substances. The abuse of prescription drugs by kids isn’t really anything new. But a new painkiller called Opana has authorities in the Midwest scratching their heads.

Msnbc reports that Opana is stronger per milligram than even Oxycotin, and can be snorted or injected. Slang terms for the pill are “stop signs,” “the O bomb,” and “new blues.” And given how powerful the substance is, many new users can easily overdose. Jerry Goodin, Indiana State Police Sergeant, says that the drug is really “kick[ing] us in the rear,” adding that, “We’ve never seen an addiction like this.”

In these early days of 2012, most of the nine people who have died so far in Scott County, IN due to drug overdoses died because of Opana. That may seem like small number, but those figures in relation to the previous year have authorities concerned:

Before 2011, only about 20 percent of the cases referred to the coroner were overdose deaths, and most of those were suicides rather than accidents. Last year, prescription drug overdoses accounted for 19 deaths, or about half of all deaths referred to the coroner in this county of just 24,000 on the southern tip of Indiana, about 30 miles from Louisville, Kentucky.

“We’re seeing a lot of 25-year-olds who are dead for no apparent reason,” said [county coroner Kevin] Collins, who is so disheartened by the overdoses that it is one reason he won’t run for reelection in May.

In Fort Wayne, there have been 11 pharmacy robberies related to Opana in which thieves threatened violence should Opana not be handed over. Looks like wholesome Midwestern families have a new reason to lay awake at night worried about their teens.

(photo: Andrew S./