A party on Del Playa Drive at which young men were drinking and taking a blue pill some identified as OxyContin led to calls to police Thursday night for an unconscious male. His housemates told police what he’d taken, and medics transported him to the hospital. Isla Vista Foot Patrol and UCSB police officers soon learned of another unconscious man inside the home, who was carried out and given naloxone because he was not breathing. Fire Department and American Medical Response personnel took over his care.
The officers made a welfare check of the residence where they found seven young men showing symptoms of drug overdose. Altogether, nine were taken to the hospital. An undetermined number of them were UCSB students.
The active ingredient in OxyContin, oxycodone, is a chemical cousin to heroin, according to the Los Angeles Times, with similar euphoria, pain-killing, addiction, and withdrawal complications. Initially marketed as a long-lasting pain medication, the duration of the relief was much less for some, the Times reported in an extensive investigation of drug-maker Purdue Pharma. As increased doses were prescribed since the 1990s, the current opioid epidemic came into being.