New research shows significant decrease in street value of OxyContin

Sep 09, 2013, 09:00 ET from RADARS System

DENVER, Sept. 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The street value of the opioid painkiller OxyContin has decreased significantly since the drug was reformulated in 2010 to deter drug abuse, injection and overdose, according to a recent study reported by Researched Abuse, Diversion and Addiction-Related Surveillance (RADARS®) System. With a mean street value of 66 cents per milligram, the street price of the reformulated, abuse-deterrent version is 34 percent lower than that of the original OxyContin, valued at $1 per milligram. The original formulation is crushable and allows an abuser to snort and inject easily.

Recently published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, the study, "Crowdsourcing black market prices for prescription drugs," demonstrates the use of crowdsourcing to validate street prices of prescription drugs such as OxyContin, Vicodin and Dilaudid.  The study compares crowdsourced street data from StreetRx, the Silk Road, an online marketplace for illicit goods, and reference data from drug diversion investigators across the U.S. (collected on a quarterly basis from roughly 280 law enforcement agencies in 49 states).

"Crowdsourcing is a rapid and cost-effective way to gather information about sales transactions," said the study's lead author, Nabarun Dasgupta, MPH, Ph.D. "We sought to determine whether crowdsourcing can provide accurate measurements of the street price of diverted prescription opioid medications."

The study finds the correlations between the three data sources to be highly linear which suggests that crowdsourcing and data mining are efficient ways to collect and project going street prices for prescription opioids that have been diverted to the illegal markets. These data can help model policy analysis and shed light on which new controlled pharmaceutical formulations have desirability relative to others when they hit the street.

The Researched Abuse, Diversion and Addiction-Related Surveillance (RADARS®) System is a prescription drug abuse, misuse and diversion surveillance system that collects timely product-and geographically-specific data. The RADARS System measures rates of abuse, misuse and diversion throughout the United States, contributing to the understanding of trends and aiding the development of effective interventions.

Denver Health is the Rocky Mountain Region's Level I academic trauma center, and the safety net hospital for the Denver area.  The Denver Health system, which integrates acute and emergency care with public and community health, includes the Rocky Mountain Regional Trauma Center, Denver's 911 emergency medical response system, Denver Health Paramedic Division, eight family health centers, 15 school-based health centers, the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center, NurseLine, Denver CARES, Denver Public Health, the Denver Health Foundation and the Rocky Mountain Center for Medical Response to Terrorism, Mass Casualties and Epidemics.