A common nerve medication is starting to surface as the next popular street drug.
Gabapentin, also known as Neurontin, is a popular nerve pain treatment medication. The drug was developed in 1973 and was first approved to treat epilepsy in the United Kingdom.
In the U.S., Neurontin was approved in 1993. In 2004, the generic form of the drug, Gabapentin, was manufactured in the U.S.
The drug has since been used to treat a variety of nerve-related pain such as diabetic neuropathy, forms of neuralgia, and restless leg syndrome among other conditions related to nerve pain.
According to a 2015 study in the American Journal of Psychiatry, the drug users who reported using gabapentin to get high increased nearly 30-fold from 2008 to 2014.
The drug is starting to surpass prescribed opioids by physicians as the opioid epidemic has caused policymakers to regulate opioids. Now, Gabapentin is being abused as its alternative. The abuse is being documented all over YouTube.
Youtubers are showing how intense the reaction can be from abusing Gabapentin. The drug is not an opioid which is why more doctors are prescribing it over narcotics. Doctors are using alternative forms of medicine to treat pain outside of opioids, and Gabapentin is a typical choice to treat nerve pain.
Abusers of the drug say it is easier to get and it is cheaper – abusers also say they think it is less addictive. In some cases, Gabapentin is being mixed with opioids on the street. The street name is called “johnnies or gabbies.” The drug can often sell for less than a $1.00 each in some cases.
Some doctors are saying that the misuse of Gabapentin is a collateral effect of the opioid crisis – when one drug is suppressed, another drug takes its place.