By abusing gabapentin, an anti-seizure and also nerve pain medication, addicts have determined how to mimic an opioid high

Walking v Weymouth’s Webb Park early one morning recently, Doug Crowley stated that’s as soon as life is most still.

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“I gain myself, ns look around,” that said. “It’s just a calmness.”

That calmness is drug-induced. Yet it’s not the Suboxone he’s prescribed to help with his tap the money from heroin. The 25-year-old is abusing an additional drug: gabapentin. The pills are dubbed "Johnnys" top top the street.

“It just offers you a sense of togetherness and wholeness favor you have a core,” that said.

“One pill isn’t going to execute it,” Crowley said. “You need to take six, seven, eight in a work in bespeak to gain the effect.”

That effect was together a draw Crowley uses most of his work to obtain into Boston to try and score.

“They’re a dissension apiece for 800 milligrams, i m sorry is as huge as castle come,” the said.

Johnnys are cheaper than other prescription drugs sold on the street. Xanax deserve to go because that $5 a pill, OxyContin because that $30. Addicts say it’s straightforward to get doctors to create a prescription. And the pills they gain are even simpler to sell.

“I’ve never felt in peril taking Johnnys,” Crowley said. “I’ve never felt prefer I to be hurting myself. And I really don’t think anyone on the street walk either.”

But abuse that the medicine is killing an ext people than ever before. The state clinical examiner’s office rule gabapentin as the cause of death in 52 overdoses critical year, more than triple 2 years earlier.

Dr. Dan Muse works in Brockton Hospital’s Emergency Department. He claimed gabapentin is a downer, and also in high doses or when merged with other depressants like heroin, it have the right to suppress a user’s breathing.

“You become lethargic, sleepy, your breathing starts to be an ext shallow,” the said. “At some point if you took sufficient you prevent breathing altogether.”

Muse said gabapentin abuse caught the medical ar off guard.

“The drug companies, that I refer to as the genuine cartels, have actually been pushing your drugs” for off-label offers running the gamut from alcohol withdrawal to anxiety,” he said.

The many recent data native the academy for health care Informatics mirrors gabapentin as the country’s 10th most-commonly prescribed medication.

Nationally, prescriptions jumped from 39 million in 2012 come 64 million in 2016.

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In Massachusetts, prescriptions have steadily increased for years, follow to federal Medicaid data. Prescriptions that Medicaid payment out, i beg your pardon would only cover a section of the total prescriptions composed in Massachusetts, practically doubled in just a couple of years, native 187,390 in 2012 to 346,429 in 2016.

Drug device Pfizer produces Neurontin, a brand-name variation of gabapentin. In a statement to Stateline, a news site affiliated v Pew charitable Trust, Pfizer communications director Steven Danehy said, “Reports the misuse and abuse through this course of medications are limited and frequently involve patients v a prior background of substance abuse, consisting of opioids.”