The World Health Organization (WHO) issued a statement that since 1986,Patients Receiving Oxycontin Must Be Careful Articles the number of patients receiving inadequat pain relieving treatments has risen and many continue to suffer from pain in both cancer-related and non-cancer related conditions.

Therefore, in the face of this knowledge, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new, controlled release pain reliever in 1995 called Oxycontin.

Oxycontin (Oxycodone HCI controlled-release) is the brand name of a drug that contains the opioid Oxycodone, a very strong narcotic pain reliever with twice the potency of morphine. Nearly $1 billion in sales annually were being made off of Oxycontin by 2001 because of its wide-spread use. Because of the serious pain associated with cancerous  conditions, Oxycontin was developed and is a time release pain reliever that slowly releases doses of Oxycodone over time.

The opioid quality of Oxycontin works to relieve pain by attaching to specific proteins called opioid receptors, which are found in the brain, spinal cord, and gastrointestinal tract. When these drugs attach to the opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord they can effectively block the transmission of pain messages to the brain.

However, due to the potency of the drug, if large amounts of oxycodone are released from the tablet all at once, there is potential for a dangerous or fatal drug overdose.