New Drug Takes Hold In Pittsburgh Area

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It’s the newest drug people in our area are abusing and the medical director of a local drug rehabilitation center wants to warn people about it.

It’s called Opana, and it’s a prescription pain killer, but Dr. Neil Capretto from Gateway Rehabilitation Center says it can be two to three times more powerful than Oxycontin. He says he’s heard of people dying from it and fears things will get much worse.

“It’s flooded Beaver County,” said a 20-year-old who is in rehab right now. “It’s the drug of choice in my area. Everybody wants Opanas.”

The young man, whose identity we won’t reveal, says his addiction began with another drug: “At first I was doing Oxycontin, and they made the new ones so you can’t crush them down and snort them, so one of the my friends told there was a new drug called Opana.”

He says he wrecked his car twice because he was high.

“I’ve had patients call it Oxycontin on steroids,” said Dr. Capretto.

He says addicts go to great lengths to get drugs like this. “I have patients who tell me they go to real estate open houses looking in medicine cabinets.”

Opana is a prescription pain killer and the 20-year-old who’s in rehab says: “I know people who were doing heroin and switched over to Opana because they were getting more high on Opanas than heroin.”

He says the withdrawal was unbearable and that getting help was the best thing he’s ever done.

Dr. Capretto says: “I still see this as getting worse before it gets better in our area.”

Gateway Rehab
MedlinePlus: Prescription Drug Abuse

More from David Highfield
  • cheyenne001

    What ever happened to pot? No bad effects,just a case of the munchies. And dont tell me he started with pot,,the kids are stupid.

  • pete

    illegal sales of these pills=profits for pharmaceutical companies. …shady.
    even shadier…. after making a pill that can’t be crushed and snorted, someone makes a stronger pill that CAN be crushed and snorted. …hhhm.

    • Ursher Feenin

      Its so scary because these kids getting hooked on drugs as young as 11 are our future.

  • legalize

    Yet another legal drug that is far worse then marijuana.

    • Ernest P. Worrel

      Gee, but it’s a gate way drug. Ok DARE, keep saying that stupid slogan. Kids will do anything they can get their hands on. Case in point, mom’s pain pills for her back and the bath salts under the sink. One will OD you worse than oxy and the other puts you into violent halucinations. But, pot is evvilllll. Please get Corbett out of office so we can get a governor to make it legal.

  • Smash Crasher

    Entitled, never-had-a-job white liberal pukes stealing entitled white liberal parents’ drugs.

  • Ron Franck

    The main reason Opana is so prevalent in western Pa is because of the exorbitant rebates that Endo is paying back to the insurance companies. Unfortunatley decisions by insurers are often based on rebates and the efficacy and safety of the drugs are underestimated.

  • stellablue

    If you were to ask a heroin addict what his first buzz was,more than likely he or she will say BEER.

  • tAMMI Bogan

    My daughter passed away Dec 26,2010 after using opana while drinking. I have been trying to get the word out for almost a year now that this drug is dangerous.. I wish someone would ask me about my story, because our entire family’s lives have been destroyed by this. I have started a support group in Washington County for anyone grieving over the loss of someone due to drugs/alcohol. If anyone is interested please email me at


  • Curt Hobbs

    Here we go again…. Sorry for your loss Tammi, I have seen far to many go by way of the drug in my life time. I am glad Dr. Capretta is out in front of this one. We did an article for the Times back in 2001 when Oxi’s were killing our kids( me included at the time), but it was to late. Heroin had crept out into the suburbs and as was predicted, the doctors quit prescribing so much and most everybody turned to Heroin. A good article about how the pharmaceutical company’s market these drugs and how the the phenomenon of Oxi’s took hold of the middle class is here: ~ My name is Curt, I was on the cover of the magazine. This was also Dr. Caprettas first major media contribution. Hopefully this time, they cut off the suppliers before it we lose any more young ones. My the lord gran you peace Tammy. My prayers and sympathy to you.

    • Tammi Bogan

      Thank you for your kindness Curt I am going to the site you recommended right now. tammi

  • Concerned

    Am I the only one concerned that this might be advertising this drug?

    • Ursher Feenin

      I was thinking the SAME thing. Like wow now more people will know about the alternative to Oxi if they can’t get it. Duh….

    • gman

      Concerned. You`re absolutely correct but this is one of those things we have to live with. The 1st amendment makes it so.

  • Stinky Wizzleteets

    They should pass it out for free…..Problem solved

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