I was watching a documentary about the Oxy pipeline from Florida to Kentucky this weekend where a sheriff made the claim that Oxycontin was pharmaceutical-grade heroin. This is not the first time I had heard this claim but I assumed they were just using hyperbole. This sheriff claimed that the narcotic ingredient of both drugs was the same. A search reveals several sites that equate the drugs and say that the dependence is interchangeable. But are they the same narcotic or do they simply bind to the same receptors due to their opiate source?
Oxycontin (oxycodone) and heroin are both opioids, but not exactly the same substance. So, no, Oxycontin is not "pharmaceutical grade heroin" — thats an oversimplification to say they're both opioids (so they work in a similar way).
Just take a look at their molecular structures to see that they're similar, but different: