The press release went on to extol OxyContin's revolutionary long-lasting, 12-hour formula. "Dosing with OxyContin Tablets on a regular schedule spares patients from anxious 'clock-watching' when pain must be controlled over long periods." In retrospect, the fact that people were anxiously "clock-watching" for the moment they could take another pain pill should've tipped doctors off to the fact that these drugs might be problematic, but hey, hindsight is 20/20.
On top of that longer half-life, OxyContin is known for its potency.
"OxyContin is a very strong opioid medication," says Dr. Tsuang. "It's one of the more potent opioid medications, and it doesn't have other stuff, like acetaminophen, in it." By contrast, Percocet touts the same active ingredient as OxyContin (oxycodone) but is notably milder, containing acetaminophen as well as a much smaller amount of oxycodone. Says Canada's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, "Just one OxyContin pill can have the same amount of oxycodone as 16 Percocet pills." OxyContin contains a few inactive ingredients, but a single pill contains 90% oxycodone. It's high-octane stuff, in other words.