Will California Put Age Restrictions On Oxycodone Prescriptions?
California State Senator Anthony Portantino wants to keep more young people from getting hooked on opioids and has introduced a measure in the hopes of accomplishing that.
Portantino’s proposed measure would ban oxycodone prescriptions for anyone under age 21. He told the Los Angeles Times that oxycodone abuse is “a national epidemic and we need to protect our children from being prescribed this highly addictive substance. Lawmakers, regulators and medical professionals have been wrestling with how best to control this synthetic heroin. While we’re looking for solutions, let’s make sure we keep it away from our most vulnerable population.”
Oxycodone is similar in chemical structure to heroin and is often viewed as a gateway drug to heroin addiction. Also known by the brand name OxyContin, it’s one of the most commonly misused and abused drugs in the country.
“We should not be giving our young people a gateway drug that can lead to illicit drug abuse such as heroin,”said Portantino. “What we all need is a time-out and pause for the health and well-being of our children.”
In the two decades since the drug was introduced in 1996, seven million Americans have abused it, and 190,000 have died from overdoses involving OxyContin and other pain relievers since 1999.
Because of fears that some users get their first taste of the drug at a young age and later move to illegal drugs like heroin and fentanyl, Portantino hopes that keeping oxycodone away from teens and young adults will help save lives.
“I don’t want to see another child and family go from the soccer field to drug addiction counseling to tragedy,” said Portantino.