OxyContin drug maker Purdue said it would stop MARKETING opioid drugs to doctors.  Purdue said in a statement said it eliminated more than half of its sales staff this week and would no longer send sales representatives to doctors' offices to discuss opioid drugs. 

The OxyContin pill, a time-release version of oxycodone, was hailed as a breakthrough treatment for chronic pain when it was approved in the late 1995.  It worked over 12 hours to maintain a steady level oxycodone in patients suffering from a wide range of pain aliments.  But some users quickly discovered they could get a heroin-like high by crushing the pills and snorting or injecting the entire dose at once.  In 2010 Purdue reformulated OxyContin to make it harder to crush and stopped selling the orginal form of the drug.

Purdue acknowledged that its promotions exaggerated the drug's safety and minimized the risks of addiction.  The company and three executives pleaded guilty in 2007 and agreed to pay more than $600 million for misleading the public about the risks of OxyContin.

Purdue also sells a newer and longer-lasting opioid drug called Hysingla.

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