San Diego Emergency Departments Consider New Guidelines to Crack Down on Painkiller Abuse

By Kenny Goldberg, KPBS

More than 260 San Diegans died from drug overdoses in 2011. The vast majority of these deaths were linked to prescription painkillers like Oxycontin and Percocet.

Hospital emergency departments in San Diego are now reevaluating their role in dispensing these medications.

Bobby Stevens, not his real name, first started popping Oxycontin when he was in high school in northern San Diego county. His classmates used to hand it out at parties.

Stevens soon became hooked. At the height of his addiction, he was taking up to 20 Oxycontin pills a day, plus the anti-anxiety drug Xanax and the amphetamine Adderall. He was spending $1500 a week on his habit. Continue reading