Don’t Prescribe Opioid Painkillers for Children as Young as 11

Target: Janet Woodcock, M.D., Director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research

Goal: Don’t approve the prescription of the addictive drug OxyContin for children and teens.

The Food and Drug Administration has announced the approval of the prescription drug OxyContin for pediatric patients 11-16 years old. Their recommendation is based on studies conducted by Purdue Pharma, the manufacturers of the drug. Such a flagrant conflict of interest should void the findings of the study and the recommendation should be revoked until unbiased third-party findings are reported. Demand that the FDA reconsider the repercussions of prescribing such an addictive and harmful drug to our children.

OxyContin (oxycodone) is a highly addictive narcotic opioid painkiller, earning it the street name Hillbilly Heroin. This is not just an exaggerated nickname. OxyContin is in the same class of drug as heroin, and its impact on the body is nearly identical. Prescription drugs in the opioid class kill nearly two times more people than all illegal drugs combined, and of all the prescriptions within this classification, OxyContin has claimed more lives than any other. When a tamper-resistant version of OxyContin was released in 2010, abuse of the drug seemed to slow down, but heroin abuse skyrocketed as pill addicts took to injecting street drugs looking for the same high. Addiction and overdose of the drug oxycodone among teens is rampant enough without handing children the drugs to get them started.

The approval by the FDA allows Purdue Pharma to market OxyContin to children as young as 11 – the average age of a fifth grader. Purdue Pharma found itself paying out $4 million in  2013 to settle with a county in Kentucky after they fraudulently marketed OxyContin as being a safer alternative to other painkillers. Purdue Pharma will not stop putting their drugs into the hands of as many Americans as they can unless we make them stop.

By signing the petition below, you will urge the director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) Janet Woodcock, M.D., to withdraw the FDA recommendation of this dangerous drug to pediatric patients until an unbiased, third party study can be conducted.


Dear Dr. Woodcock,

Prescription drug abuse is on the rise among teens and young adults in America. Three different studies found that almost half of all young heroin addicts started out on prescription opioids such as OxyContin. Heroin is much cheaper than prescription opioids, meaning many teens and adults who develop a habit for prescriptions will soon turn to street drugs for a cheaper high. We must fight to keep these drugs out of the hands of our children, not aid in making them more readily available.

The studies conducted by Purdue Pharma, which declared OxyContin is safe for use among pediatric patients ages 11-16, represent a flagrant conflict of interest that should void the findings. The recommendation should be revoked until unbiased third-party findings are reported.

I am urging you to take charge of the research on this dangerous drug and ensure that Purdue Pharma is not allowed to make recommendations based on their own self interest.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Patrick Ireland

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One Comment

  1. As a nurse of 40 years, it has taken decades to change the mindset that babies and children do not experience pain and/or retain no memory of it. For too long, surgery was performed on young children without anesthesia, only a paralytic agent; post-operative pain or pain from other causes was treated with sedation. Conditions and circumstances that would cause acute or chronic pain in an adult causes pain in a baby or child. The issue is not whether Oxy-Contin should be used in younger children but whether it is an effective pain reliever, under what circumstances should it be prescribed and for how long in any patient of any age. I will NOT sign.

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