Oxycontin Death

May 23, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Visalia Police say a 17 year old high school student died from an overdose of the painkiller Oxycontin.Cory White, a junior at El Diamante High School was found unconscious after a prom party on May 4th. He died at a local hospital a short time later.

The test results were just released and Visalia Police say they have arrested two teen agers in connection with White's death. Police say they can't discuss the allegations against the teens because they are juveniles. The case has been referred to the District Attorney for possible action.

Addiction Specialist, Dr. Marc Lasher, who is the Medical Director for Aegis Medical Centers, said Oxycontin and other opiate pain killers are being abused by teens in record numbers. "People need to understand Oxycontin is as strong of a narcotic as Heroin as, it's as addictive as Heroin is and also, it's as deadly as Heroin is."

Word that White died of an overdose spread quickly through the El Diamante campus. Steven Mount, a 17 year old junior said he knew White well. "He was one of my best friends. I've wrestled with him played football with him." When asked if he was aware of White's apparent drug use. He said, "Yeah, I was and I think it was just dumb of him doing that."

El Diamante High School Principal Drew Sorensen said White's death has made him more aware of prescription drug abuse by students.

"They use the term Pharm, and I being from the valley thought it was F-A-R-M, and, no, it's P-H-A-R-M-aceutical."

Lasher, said addiction to Oxycontin and other prescription drugs has become an overwhelming problem among young people who may have been taking just two or three pills a day. He said Oxycontin addiction can quickly lead to Heroin addiction. "These kids are waking up ill, they are finding out they are addicted and they are also finding out they can no longer afford to pay $20 to $40 dollars a pill to maintain their habit and so they are moving from that to a cheaper source of trying to keep themselves from getting sick and that cheaper source is heroin, not a very good alternative."

It's happening in every community. Local law enforcement agencies claim prescription drug use among teens is nearly as common as marijuana use and as young people are learning, far more dangerous.

El Diamante student Haylie Hoppert, a Freshman said "A lot of kids at our school do drugs and its really upsetting and it's really sad and especially after this tragic death they haven't stopped."


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