Youth Eye View:
It's called O.C., for out of control
by Misty Volaski
It started out being something that only the most "loaded"
kids did. And, as with most drugs, it caught on at a terrifying
rate until, on average, five kids a month were winding up as
emergency room overdoses.
You've seen it in the news and, if you're a teen, chances are
you've seen it at parties, too. You might have even tried it
yourself. It's OxyContin, or simply, O.C.
The general consensus among Ojai high school students is that
O.C. is a drug for the more affluent, kids who can afford the
$30 to $50 price tag on each pill.
But price isn't the addict's main concern.
A quick drive to Mexico and a visit to an illegitimate "doctor"
is one way to score. But like most pharmaceuticals, it's probably
easier to get from a "friend" or from the medicine
After a number of recent incidents in the valley, a few brave
Ojai teens stepped up to tell us what they know. We'll pass it
on to you and let you hear their experience and judge for yourself.
The names in the following accounts have been changed to protect
"The world is at a melting point. No one's sure of our safety,"
says 17-year-old Jason. "Drugs are an escape." Especially,
he points out, OxyContin. "Anyone can get it. You just ask
a friend who knows a friend who can get it for you. It's like
a community of friends."
He's only tried it once and didn't like it because "it put
me too far out."
Jason says several of his friends have done it and that he's
been to many parties where countless teens were strewn about,
on couches and on the floor, tripping out. He said those on OxyContin
looked as though they were comatose. "It's a major downer,"
he said. "It puts you in an opiated state."
Others who had tried it said O.C. put them in a state of euphoria,
where they didn't actually have to actually do anything to feel
a great high.
Jason said it's becoming epidemic. "It's really common.
Class A drugs are everywhere." He added that "It's
really detrimental. It kills your income. It makes you a slave."
So, why would anyone ever want to drift into the highly-addictive
and extremely dangerous depths of OxyContin?
"The risk isn't as big as the high," Jason points out.
"The high is the high."
Jason claims he knows when he's playing with fire. "The
more you take it, you get a real tolerance and you can overdose."
Jason also warns that there are other threats out there, too.
The newest thing is called "Wet," an embalming fluid,
an imitation PCP. "It's mostly a lower-class drug,"
he says. "The pill scene is getting more powerful."
Oh, and now, inevitably, kids try to duplicate O.C. on the streets,
just cheaper. "It's business," Jason says.
Getting arrested and watching videos about OxyContin in drug
classes awakened Kate to the dangers of pharmaceuticals and other
heavy drugs. Now, she says, she's a "weed-only" kind
Also, she's seen the deadly result of one half an O.C. pill,
an experience she can't forget. She knows plenty of people who
do the drug and sees people on it on a regular basis. But Kate
said she would never try it. "It's like death waiting to
happen," she says.
Startlingly enough, the 16-year-old said she could call any one
of a number of people and have the drug at her doorstep in less
than an hour. Kate's sister agreed, saying that her boyfriend's
friends do it and that she could easily get it any day of the
Kate also said she knows kids who come to school regularly high
on O.C. "One girl used to go to school high all the time.
One day the teachers called her parents and the next day she
came to school and just flipped out.
"She was all, 'I'm fine, I look fine, I'm fine!' But you
could totally tell she wasn't."
For lots of people, Kate said, it's a hush-hush thing. Others
are more boastful. "They are almost proud that their bodies
can handle such a strong drug," she said.
Fifteen-year-old Ted has never tried O.C. In his experience,
most parties involve kids drinking and smoking "herb."
Ted doesn't see the problem as anything resembling epidemic.
"I think there's a drug problem, definitely," he states.
"But not at the proportion they're making it out to be."
Most of the O.C. use Ted has seen is at "rich kid parties"
where kids can afford to pass around expensive drugs. "It
makes me uncomfortable, with lots of dangerous things going on
at once," he said. Some kids, he noted, "definitely
flaunted it. They're silly about it, telling people, just to
be cool for doing the drugs. Once that passes, it gets to be
real drug (abuse), really bad."
Ted added he knows kids hooked on OxyContin and they are "falling
apart because of their drug use. They have become more, like,
frantic, more out of it. A lot less focused on life and friendships.
It's tearing them away."
In response to one specific recent incident, he says, "It's
sad that it takes the death of one of our young successful kids
for us to come around."
© 2002 The Ojai Valley
to the news
Search for answers begins at home
Family deals with
Police chief questions
Girl's path leads from
OxyContin to rehab
Local doctor sees surprising
increases in OxyContin overdoses