hillbilly heroin
n. Slang nickname for the prescription painkiller OxyContin, which is said to produce an effect similar to heroin.
The Reid boys … have been caught in an alarming wave of addiction triggered largely by the abuse of OxyContin, a prescription painkiller that produces a powerful, heroin-quality high. More than a year ago this tenacious synthetic opiate began ravaging poor, rural parts of New England and Appalachia, earning the nickname "hillbilly heroin."
—Elizabeth Mehren, “Hooks of 'Hillbilly Heroin',” Los Angeles Times, October 04, 2001
2001 (earliest)
"Proven Effective in Low Back Pain," reads the medical journal ad, showing a carpenter reaching for his lumbar area. Doan's pills? Bayer aspirin? Tylenol? The ad is for OxyContin, a potentially lethal, highly abused painkiller, one a local pharmaceutical representative calls "hillbilly heroin" for its recreational popularity among rural Appalachians.
—Greg Stone, “This painkiller can kill,” The Sunday Gazette Mail, March 25, 2001
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