How black-market OxyContin spurred a town's descent into crime, addiction and heartbreak

Discussion in 'The Opium Den' started by Apocales, Jul 10, 2016.

  1. Apocales 4:35a.m. just one more episode..

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    [IMG]
    Jevon Lawson pictured in 2008. (Erica Sciarretta)

    July 10, 2016
    For years, Jevon “Goldie” Lawson dealt crack on the steps of a 7-Eleven in a rough part of this blue-collar town. He smoked the rocks he didn’t sell and often appeared as strung out as his customers. But in 2008, he moved into a $400,000 house, started driving a champagne-colored Humvee, and made himself the star act of his own hip-hop label. He abandoned the crack business. Found something better, he told associates. What he found was OxyContin from Southern California, where organized drug rings were colluding with rogue doctors and pharmacies to obtain enormous quantities of the drug. Illicit OxyContin devastated the entire Everett region. At the height of the drug’s popularity, it was a factor in more than half of the crimes in Snohomish County. Abuse of the drug touched off an epidemic of painkiller and heroin addiction, which continues to this day. The crisis swept up many young people, such as Katie McKnight, the daughter of an Everett physician whose dependency outlasted seven trips to rehab, and Brandon Smith, who lost a promising career at Nintendo and, ultimately, his freedom to OxyContin.

    Following the pills

    An Inland Empire branch of the Crips trafficked pills out of L.A. and by plane. The destination was Everett, Wash.
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    Authorities in Everett knew much ofthe drug was coming from traffickers in the Los Angeles area, but they were unable to determine how pills were getting on the black market. A Times review of court records and law enforcement reports suggests that several people who sent OxyContin from Southern California to Lawson in Everett were buying pills from Lake Medical, a clinic near MacArthur Park that was a front for a drug ring. The records, along with interviews of law enforcement officials, indicate that Inland Empire Crips gang members drove bags of OxyContin north on Interstate 5 to Washington State and sent couriers aboard planes to Seattle with pills strapped to their bodies. At the time OxyContin was ravaging Everett, Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, was tracking the voluminous prescriptions written by Lake Medical’s doctors as well as the extraordinary quantities of pills ordered by corrupt pharmacies filling those prescriptions. It did not track Lake Medical pills to their final destinations, however. It wasn’t until years later, after authorities brought down the ring, that Purdue shared the information with law enforcement. By then, 1.1 million pills had spilled onto the black market.

    Everett, Washington

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    Abuse of OxyContin devastated Washington state's Snohomish County. (Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times)

    Everett, a city of 100,000, hugs Port Gardner Bay about halfway between Seattle and the Canadian border. Ferries crisscross the blue-gray waters of Puget Sound; the snowcapped Cascades rise behind the modest skyline. A thriving mill town at the turn of the 20th century, Everett has seen its fortunes rise and fall with various industries — shipbuilding, lumber, iron and canneries. The largest employers today are Boeing, which assembles four types of airliners at a plant along Interstate 5, and the U.S. Navy, which has a deep-water port on the north end of town. The region had long grappled with methamphetamine abuse. But with the California pills flowing to Lawson, OxyContin became the community’s most pressing drug problem.

    [IMG]
    Jevon Lawson wore a diamond pendant with pale green gems mimicing the OxyContin trail from Los Angeles to Washington state. (US Marshals Service)

    Lawson wasn’t shy about the source of his new wealth. Lawson wasn’t shy about the source of his new wealth. He wore a pendant necklace with a map of the West Coast in diamonds and a trail of gems the color of 80-milligram OxyContin connecting Los Angeles and Washington state. He sold the 80-milligram tablets — the maximum-strength pill favored by addicts — in bulk to local gangs that used small-time dealers to peddle them for up to $80 a piece. Dealers sold pills in parks, outside grocery stores and at car washes. The aluminum foil that addicts used to smoke the pills littered parking lots and sidewalks. Some grocery stores gave away foil squares to discourage the rampant shoplifting of Reynolds Wrap. Addicts burglarized homes, picked pockets, stole identities, robbed businesses and prostituted themselves. Young women in pasties and thongs offered sexual favors alongside lattes at a proliferation of drive-in “bikini” espresso stands. OxyContin seemed to attract people with no criminal records and stable homes, jobs, and families. “They were a segment of society you would never have anticipated,” said Coleen St. Clair, a former Snohomish County prosecuting attorney who worked in the narcotics unit.

    story continues--

    http://www.latimes.com/projects/la-me-oxycontin-everett/
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  2. Empress Cheesatine Dat kaiserin

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    Somehow making it legal and therefore more common is supposed to help.
  3. fuz al-nufi Bar Regular

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    u do realize that oxycontin is an opioid medication and many people genuinely need it to treat pain. Even if u made it illegal there are other opioid medications very similar to it. Or u could just use heroin, it's basically the same thing.
  4. Mandalore in recovery from sobriety

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    Well, it would certainly put Jevon out of business. Nobody would even think about buying dope from a nigger if they could get it legally. That would put growers, refiners, smugglers, wholesalers, middlemen and dealers out of business.

    It would also greatly reduce drug-related robberies. How many people have you met that sell stolen car stereos to buy booze? None. That's because booze is cheap, and its cheap because its legal.

    Most of the problems associated with opiate abuse are a result of its status as a controlled substance, including the fact that street dope is cut with all kinds of crazy shit. Heroin doesn't kill people. Dirty needles and living in poverty do that, and opiates aren't really that bad physically. If an otherwise hardworking individual wants to accept sexual dysfunction and constipation as a trade-off for getting whacked 24/7, why should that concern anyone else?
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  5. Man Against Time Black Hole Melchizedek

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    Nonetheless the acute effects of a vicious Oxy habit aren't equivalent to or even really all that similar to an IV heroin habit as those effects produced by the high itself from it are actually more desirable and far less destabilizing to a "normal" lifestyle, hence the supposedly incomprehensible allure of it to people with stable and even successful lives (it's actually really easy to understand: the Oxy 'buzz' turns a boring or dull or even numbingly repetitive hard-working existence into a frolic through paradise - if used in a competitive work environment you will easily surpass all of your fellows as the most productive employee in a seemingly effortless fashion with your co-workers wondering how it such a state could even be possible - and since the Oxy 'buzz' can make you far more productive without visibly impairing you at all the abuse of it is very easy to hide all the way up until the point you run out of it and cannot find a way to replenish your supply then comes the feeling that comes with receiving a neurochemical punishment that seems like it was designed explicitly for vile sinners by Yahweh himself) and I suppose that because of this effect it actually makes its abuse potential even more dangerous. While those sexual side effects and bowel irritations are far less pronounced the state of acute withdrawal produced by a heavy Oxy habit is also way worse than that produced by heroin use. In withdrawal from heroin you just feel like you're sick with the flu, uncomfortable in your own skin while your spirit is nagged by a depressed feeling of malaise. Any degenerate heroin addict who commits some sort of awful crime and says it "was all because I didn't want to feel the withdrawal" really is an honest to God pussy. The withdrawal from the vicious Oxy habit, though, if endured cold turkey, is way worse than heroin withdrawal. Multiply the "kinda sick" feeling of heroin withdrawal by at least a few factors of multitude until it gets to where you're so sick that you feel like some cancer patient who can't get out of bed without summoning a heroic reserve of willpower, moreover that nagging "blah" feeling of heroin WD malaise turns into something far worse entirely, you are literally trapped in some version of hell and when you do encounter a few deceptively bouts of mild relief here and there you will feel re-energized with the motivation to do something good for yourself, trying to give yourself optimism and happy thoughts and so forth, and then when you go to do that thing you will realize that something is drastically wrong with your normal brain mechanics, you'll realize that "anhedonia" turns out to be actually be a real thing and right now you are undeniably experiencing just that - and with that realization you'll be gripped with a feeling of hopelessness and despair that will even make suicide a very tempting proposition. You'll be shocked and amazed even at how long the withdrawal lasts, and your sense of sanity will definitely be challenged all the way through if it is not lost completely for some temporary period of time. Now I could totally understand someone doing something absolutely reckless and insane in an attempt to get out of oxy withdrawal and possibly even just to avoid the WD if you did experience once before only to relapse again afterward. Someone going through oxy WD will definitely consider even robbing a bank, for real, and then spend the entirety of the haul just to have enough pills to feel like you won't be facing that horrible feeling of WD at least for a long time. But that's the type of feeling you can expect from sustaining the abuse of one helluva drug - when it's felt in all of its depth you will definitely consider the possibility that you're undergoing those forms of punishment reserved by God for those who cross some sort of divinely established threshold that is established in order to deter the deserving transgressors who dared to cross a divinely established threshold that was not meant to be passed so if you hear someone or even a few people swear that "Oxycontin is the devil" this should help explain why. If it's something seductive that lures you in with false promises only to initiate you into an experience of hell you're going to feel like you were conned and set up by the devil himself. To say it totally blows would be an understatement.
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  6. fuz al-nufi Bar Regular

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    big pharma and criminals are the only people who benefit from prohibition.
  7. Mandalore in recovery from sobriety

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    The only real differences in withdrawal symptoms between heroin and Oxy are due to the amount in which the respective drugs are used. Oxy users tend to use larger doses for several reasons, the first of which is that they nearly always have more money to spend on drugs than heroin users. People who can afford an Oxy habit also can afford clean needles and homes which aren't covered in old food wrappers, beer bottles, dog feces and other lovely things like that. Coupled with the fact that Oxy is a precise dosage and is free of toxic cutting agents and by-products, this means that an Oxy user is far less likely to have have a "wake up call" like track marks, blood poisoning, accidental overdose, hepatitis, AIDS or felony charges. This makes it way easier to forget that you're doing something incredibly stupid until you're banging up to a couple hundred milligrams at a time.
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