Oxycontin has been a widely abused drug for years, and while it helped millions deal with legitimate pain, many were abusing it.

It made headlines when Rush Limbaugh was found to have taken a liking to it.

Trying to take a new step towards safety, the manufacturers of the pill, Purdue Pharma, took steps to decrease the ability to abuse the drug.

Once able to be crushed into a liquid and injected, the compounds were made to turn gelatinous when crushed and placed into water.

Now, according to new research in the New England Journal of Medicine, more opiate addicts are skipping the oxycontin and seeking out heroin.

Researcher Theodore Cicero and his colleagues surveyed more than 2,500 painkiller addicts about their drug habits and found that there’s a shift in drug abuse.

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OxyContin’s status as the primary drug of choice among opiate users decreased from 35.6% of respondents before the introduction of the new formula to 12.8% nearly two years later.

But with that solution on the oxycontin abuse, came another problem. Thousands of users turning to heroin.

66% of the abusers surveyed said that they just switched to another opiate.

When once upon a time you had people abusing oxycontin, they weren’t dying from the abuse. But heroin use is one of the leading causes of overdoses.

Purdue Pharma, in a statement to the Chicago Tribune, says the trend found by Cicero and his colleagues is consistent with studies conducted by the company, and suggests that to curb painkiller abuse, other companies should follow its example.

“It is unreasonable to expect the reformulation of one medication by one pharmaceutical company would reduce overall opioid abuse,” the company said in a statement.

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