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Massachusetts Launches Hearings Into Oxycontin Addiction ‘epidemic’

Massachusetts State Senator Steven A. Tolman (D-Boston), says the state is in the throes of a heroin and OxyContin "epidemic", and he wants law enforcement, treatment experts, and even parents and the public to provide new ideas for dealing with heroin and OxyContin addiction.

The hearings will investigate the serious shortage of effective heroin and OxyContin addiction treatment options, as well as the law enforcement picture and the extent of and solutions for drug-related crime.

"Massachusetts is in the midst of an epidemic," state Sen. Tolman, said. "We need to set up a real treatment plan so the addicts who are out there know they can get help. They don't want to live like this. Right now, they feel they have no avenue, they have no path to recovery."

Sen. Tolman added: "These addicts go to detox and then go out and start up again. We need to help them get better."

A 13-member Massachusetts OxyContin and Heroin Commission was created in the 2007-08 legislative session specifically to investigate and try to deal with the epidemic of OxyContin addiction in the state. The commission will look at what can be done to help addicts and their families, among other issues, and will release a final report later in the year.

Sen. Tolman said the commission will investigate suggestions from the public in its quest to solve the heroin and OxyContin addiction and treatment problems. To get the project rolling, a series of public hearings will be held throughout the state seeking information from treatment specialists, law enforcement groups, and even parents, to learn what approaches seem to be working, and what are not working.

Sen. Tolman pointed out that more Americans have died of opiate-related overdoses between 2002 and 2007 than have perished in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

The OxyContin addiction problem doesn't just exists in Massachusetts. Heroin and OxyContin addiction, injury and death is a nightmare situation across the country.

And although opiate abusers, including those trapped by heroin or OxyContin addiction, are at risk of overdose and death, OxyContin-related crime is rampant in every state of the Union, and touches almost everyone.

Armed robberies of drug stores, forged prescriptions, "doctor shopping", thefts of all kinds from every conceivable source, including teenagers and pre-teens stealing the drug from parents and grandparents, are in the news every single day of the year.

To get an idea of just how widespread opiate abuse is, especially OxyContin addiction, all one has to do is a search Google News or Yahoo News -- not just the web but the news -- for ˜OxyContin'. The results can be stunning for most people, and it's the same seven days a week, year in and year out. Dozens of robberies, arrests, court convictions, jailings, and of course, the deaths -- toddlers, teens, young adults and seniors, from every walk of life are dying. And Americans are not just dying from OxyContin addiction and abuse. Plenty of people are dying from a first-time, one-time recreational drug experiment gone wrong.

Another thing everyone should know: OxyContin addiction isn't something seen in dark alleyways or seedy drug houses. OxyContin addiction can even occur from following the directions on a legitimate, doctor-ordered prescription, striking people at every level of society.