The Best Answers From the L.A. 'Times' OxyContin Reddit AMA

Reporters distill their findings on America's ongoing drug epidemic.

The Los Angeles Times recently published an in-depth investigation into a major contributor to the nation's opioid epidemic: OxyContin.  

The drug, which was released in 1996 by Purdue Pharma, was sold on its alleged ability to relieve severe pain for up to 12 hours with a single dose. Reporters from the Times unearthed evidence disputing the company's dosage claims.

OxyContin is currently being rebranded as the most widely abused pharmaceutical drug in U.S. history. 

From "You Want a Description of Hell? Oxycontin's 12-Hour Problem:"

OxyContin’s stunning success masked a fundamental problem: The drug wears off hours early in many people, a Los Angeles Times investigation found. OxyContin is a chemical cousin of heroin, and when it doesn’t last, patients can experience excruciating symptoms of withdrawal, including an intense craving for the drug."

The Times investigation alleges Purdue Pharma was aware of the flaw before the drug hit the market, based on clinical trials.

On Wednesday, Times reporters Harriet Ryan and Matt Lait, who contributed to the investigation with Lisa Girion, hosted a Reddit AMA, to further discuss the team's findings. Some of the most revealing insights are collected below: 

How It Begins:

On alternatives to Oxycontin: 

By the numbers:

On the path to addiction: 

On "off-label prescribing:"

On Legal Action Being Taken Against Purdue:

According to the New York Times, House Republicans will also soon vote on 18 bills that are said to address the opioid epidemic.


Read the investigation here.

Read Purdue's response here.