Hillbilly Heroin abuse on the rise

It's a medication that's supposed to help pain.

It gives a feeling of euphoria, a feeling you end up craving.

Oxycontin has become the drug of choice for addicts across the country and right here in mid-Missouri.

A new report from the CDC found nearly 5% of Americans age 12 and older said they had abused painkillers like Oxycontin in the past year.

They said they used them without a prescription or just for the high.

It's known as Oxycontin, Oxy or Hillbilly Heroin.

"You could ask anybody what hillbilly heroin is and they'll tell you it's Oxycontin," a former addict who wanted to stay anonymous said.

She was addicted to the painkiller for eight years.

"Knowing what I know now, I should have never been given the prescription," the former addict said. "All I did was take it as prescribed and after that, I found out that I couldn't get up everyday and not have them."

She said getting the drug was easy.

"I can remember some friends and I going from hospital to hospital in one night and getting 5 different prescriptions for different pain medications," the former addict said.

Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, Jake Tomblinson of Capital Region Medical Center, agreed and said too many doctors prescribe the medication when they shouldn't.

"We just have too many physicians ordering narcotics for Fibromyalgia and various other things that really shouldn't need narcotic pain medication," Tomblinson said.

But he also said addicts know how to work the system.

"They know which place to go to, what time to go there, the things to say and if they don't get what they want they just go someplace else and sooner or later somebody's just going to give them what they want," Tomblinson said.

The dependency controls the addicts lives'.

"I might have been places and been at family functions but really I wasn't there," the former addict said.

But after eight long years she got clean.

"I TMll never forget the day that I did quit, it was a Sunday, it was March the 15th of 2009 and I swallowed some pills and I walked into church," the former addict said. "It was myself and by the grace of god that I made it through.

The former addict we talked to was able to turn her life around, but many aren't able to.

In 2008, drugs like Oxycontin, Vicodin and Methadone claimed almost 5,000 lives.

Addicts said it's easy to keep getting refills for their pain medications if they pay out of pocket, that way insurance companies can't monitor it.

A federal drug plan announced this year calls for state programs to track prescriptions.

Every state except Missouri and New Hampshire have approved them.