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OxyContin is a morphine derivative prescription medication used to treat moderate to severe pain. This drug works by attaching to specific opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord to efficiently block the broadcast of pain messages to the brain. OxyContin was introduced in 1995; the medication has received a lot of press in current years due to a considerable number of cases of illegal diversion and abuse. If taken daily, OxyContin can result in physical dependency and if stopped abruptly, the user experiences severe withdrawal symptoms or possible addiction. Critical injury and death have been credited to Oxycontin .

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has reinforced its precautions in the labeling of OxyContin Tablets, including issuing their strongest warning - a Black Box Warning. At least 1,000 deaths per year are due to OxyContin abuse . Presently, the DEA is requesting that family doctors and non-specialists be prohibited from prescribing the medication.

Purdue Pharma, the makers of OxyContin, has been criticized for failing to supply ample warning of the risk of dependence connected to the drug and have been involved in many lawsuits nationwide claiming aggressive marketing and minimization of OxyContin's extremely addictive nature.

Congressional investigators stated that Purdue Pharma distributed promotional videos to doctors making unconfirmed statements that underestimated the dangers of the pain-relief medication. In January of 2003, Purdue Pharma agreed to suspend medical journal advertisements for the medication due to the FDA's allegation that the advertising is misleading . The FDA also warned Purdue Pharma about advertisements that do not include adequate notification regarding the "potentially fatal risks associated with OxyContin".