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Misleading Stats On OxyContin Usage

Your browser does not support this object. View the original here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqIkkAkYzE0

Video published July 23, 2010 | Download MP4 | View transcript

Above: Are county officials misleading the public about OxyContin usage among San Diego's young people? We speak to a North County Times reporter who investigated the county's claims.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

LAST SATURDAY THE NORTH COUNTY FILMS RELEASED A REPORT CHALLENGING INFORMATION FROM COUNTY OFFICIALS THAT OXYCODONE USE IS AN EPIDEMIC AMONG THOSE UNDER 235. OXYCODONE IS A -- SYNTHETIC OPIATE. MORGAN COOK JOINS US TO EXPLAIN HER FINDINGS. MORGAN, THANKS FOR BEING WITH US.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING HE ME.

LET'S START WITH THE INFORMATION THAT WE HEARD FROM THE SHERIFF, THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY AND THE SUPERVISORS. WHAT HAVE THEY BEEN SAYING ABOUT OXYCONTIN ABUSE IN SAN DIEGO.

WHEN THEY'VE SPOKEN ABOUT IT AT PANEL AND IN JUST PUBLIC AND IN GENERAL, THEY USUALLY FOCUS ALMOST COMPLETELY ON YOUNG PEOPLE. WHEN THEY TALK ABOUT THE PROBLEMS, THEY TALK ABOUT YOUNG PEOPLE. AND, YOU KNOW, THEY MADE SOME BOLD, SCARY COMMENTS.

AND THEY WERE TALKING ABOUT YOUNG PEOPLE IN A PARTICULAR ECONOMIC GROUP, A PARTICULAR PART OF THE COUNTY?

YES. THEY HAVE BEEN SAYING THAT THEY ARE MOSTLY YOUNG PEOPLE FROM AFFLUENT COMMUNITIES, TORREY PINES. AND WHITE KIDS.

SO THIS IS DEPICTED AS A RICH KIDS' OF A FLICKS.

RIGHT.

WHAT IS THE FIRM APPROACH IN DEALING WITH THE PROBLEM.

THEY DO EDUCATION AND OUTREACH. THEY MADE, ACTUALLY, SOME PRETTY COOL VIDEOS FOR PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENTS.

URINAL LAY SIZE IN THE NORTH COUNTY TIMES CAME UP WITH A DIFFERENT USER DEMOGRAPHIC. WHAT DID YOU FIND?

WELL, I FOUND THAT MIDDLE AGE PEOPLE ARE ACTUALLY THE BIGGEST USERS AND ABUSERS OF OXYCODONE. YOU KNOW, IT'S NOT JUST YOUNG PEOPLE. IN FACT, IT'S OVERWHELMINGLY MIDDLE AGE PEOPLE.

IT IS. SO, I MEAN, THIS IS VERY DIFFERENT FROM WHAT WE HAVE BEEN HEARING REPORTED FROM OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS. WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO TAKE ON THAT INVESTIGATION IN THE FIRST PLACE.

WELL, I AND SOME OF MY COLLEAGUES AT NORTH COUNTY TIMES, WE HAVE GONE TO THE PRESS CONFERENCES, THE PUB LIKE HEARINGS AND THINGS AND WE HEARD PUBLIC OFFICIALS SAY THAT IT'S A HUGE PROBLEM. BUT THEY HAVE NEVER BEEN ABLE TO GIVE US INFORMATION HOW BIG THE PROBLEM IS, HOW MANY ARE USING IT, HOW MANY ARE DYING FROM IT. WE ASKED FOR THOSE NUMBERS AND THEY HAVEN'T HAD THEM. SO, YOU KNOW, WE THOUGHT TO OURSELVES LET'S FIND THEM OURSELVES.

YOU DO HAVE SOME NUMBERS ABOUT --GIVE US AN IDEA WHAT THEY ARE.

THEY ARE MEDICAL EXAMINER RECORDS, HOSPITAL DATA COLLECTED BY THE DRUG ABUSE WARNING NETWORK, A FEDERAL AGENCY THATTING A GRAY GATES MEDICAL EXAMINER DATA IN HOSPITAL VISITS TO GET A PICTURE FROM THE PUBLIC HEALTH SIDE. AND ALSO PROSECUTION DATA, WHAT EXISTED FROM THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE.

SO, WHAT KIND OF A RESPONSE HAVE YOU GOTTEN FROM COUNTY OFFICIALS NOW THAT YOU HAVE PRESENTED THIS INFORMATION.

WELL, THEY ACKNOWLEDGED THAT, YES, IT APPEARS THAT MIDDLE AGE PEOPLE ARE THE BIGGER PRINCIPLE USERS, DYING MORE OFTEN. BUT THEY SAID THAT --HOW THEY DEFINED ABUSE IS DIFFERENT. THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT KIDS WHO ARE BUYING IT ON THE STREET LIKE MORE REMINISCENT OF STREET DRUGS.

WELL, I CONGRATULATE YOU ON YOUR REPORT. THANK YOU FOR BEING WITH US, MORGAN COOK. AND NOW HERE IS DWAYNE BROWN WITH AN UPDATE ON WHAT KPBS IS WORKING ON FOR NEXT WEEK.

THANKS, GLORIA.

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