Young Broward County Pill Addicts With No Memory of AIDS Epidemic Now Shooting Up

While Gov. Rick Scott seems like the biggest obstacle in front of the prescription drug problem that kills seven Floridians a day, a new trend has emerged among young addicts. Users in their 20s increasingly prefer to crush pills and inject their fix, according to a report from Jim Hall, director of the Center for the Study and Prevention of Substance Abuse at Nova Southeastern University.

Hall says the most recent generation of drug users isn't familiar with the dangers of shooting up. That's because kids now grew up without the AIDS scare that showed the

dangers of sharing needles.

Hall's study is not complete, but he had found startling anecdotal evidence about the new trend. In Broward County, 450 people were treated for addiction to pain meds in the first six months of 2010, up from 336 the entire year before. The amount of those who primarily injected their drugs had spiked from 11.6 percent in 2009 to 20 percent in the first half of 2010, according to Hall.

The manufacturer of OxyContin, Purdue Pharma, began reformulating its popular painkiller to prevent abusers from snorting or shooting the drug. But that may not be enough. 

"That's a very effective strategy," Hall said. "The only issue is that opioids are available in so many other forms. It's in Percocet, Percodan, Vicodin, it's in all of these things."  

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