Oxycodone Addiction

Oxycodone, found in OxyContin and Percocet, is a powerful painkiller and among the most commonly abused prescription drugs in the country.

Many people who abuse oxycodone start out by taking a prescribed amount — but as their body develops a tolerance to the drug, they need a higher dose to maintain the same relief or high.

The transition from use to abuse to addiction can be quick and dangerous. Oxycodone is a powerful drug and offers much-needed relief to many people struggling with painful or terminal conditions; as such, it can be hard to stay in control.

Recognizing that someone has an addiction to oxycodone could help save their life. Not only is it an expensive and debilitating addiction, overdose from oxycodone is a very real — and potentially deadly — possibility.

Overview of Oxycodone Addiction
Recreational Use Dependence Addiction
  • Taking more oxycodone than prescribed
  • Using oxycodone with friends or at parties
  • Looking to oxycodone for relief on bad days
  • Feeling intense euphoria during use
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms
  • Needing more oxycodone to achieve a high
  • Craving oxycodone when not under its influence
  • Feeling “not right” when not using oxycodone
  • Prioritizing oxycodone use above all else
  • Endangering yourself or others and not caring
  • Struggling financially because of oxycodone use
  • Allowing health and relationships to deteriorate

People who are suffering from an oxycodone use disorder usually require a medically managed detox and a good treatment program to prevent relapse. For help finding treatment, contact a treatment provider.

Oxycodone Definition And Brands

Oxycodone is the powerful primary ingredient in many painkillers prescribed to people suffering from moderate to severe pain. These pills come in various shapes, sizes, and colors depending on the dose and brand. Oxycodone is also sometimes prescribed in a liquid form. It is often prescribed in combination with other drugs including acetaminophen, aspirin, and ibuprofen. Some of the most common brand names for oxycodone-based drugs are:

  • OxyContin

    OxyContin is one of the most commonly abused prescription drugs. The drug’s controlled-release formula provides chronic pain relief for up to 12 hours. Many people bypass the time-release action by crushing and snorting OxyContin or by dissolving the tablets in water and injecting the solution. This allows the user to achieve the full effect of the drug at once.

  • Percocet

    Percocet is a combination of oxycodone and acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol). It is commonly prescribed for a number of conditions. Similar to OxyContin, crushing and snorting Percocet is a common method of abuse. Other modes of abuse include taking more than the prescribed Percocet dosage, taking the drug for longer than the prescribed period of time, and chewing or injecting Percocet.

  • Roxicodone

    Roxicodone is a rapid-release formula of oxycodone that is used to treat moderate to severe pain. It is often given to a patient before surgery to sedate or calm them and for around-the-clock pain management. When abused, the drug causes a very quick high in the user. People who abuse Roxicodone often crush or melt down the tablets to be smoked or injected.

Slang or street names for oxycodone drugs include oxy, OCs, oxycet, oxycotton, hillbilly heroin, berries, killers, percs, and roxis.

People prescribed an oxycodone-based painkiller may be suffering from cancer, arthritis, or other physical disorders, or they may receive a short-term prescription after surgery or trauma. Prescription forms of oxycodone are designed to provide around-the-clock relief.

Oxycodone is made by modifying thebaine, an organic chemical found in opium. Designated as an opioid or semi-synthetic opiate, oxycodone shares a general classification with heroin, hydrocodone, and oxymorphone. Oxycodone is classified as a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act. This means that, although it has a definite medical purpose, there is a high potential for abuse.

Oxycodone Addiction: Effects And Abuse

Taking more than the prescribed dosage, taking the drug for longer than recommended by a doctor, or ingesting the drug through chewing, injecting, or snorting all constitute abuse of oxycodone. Many people abuse oxycodone for its euphoric effects. As an opioid, oxycodone’s effects are strikingly similar to heroin’s.

The effects of oxycodone use include:

  • Euphoria
  • Reduced anxiety
  • Confidence
  • Relaxation
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness

There’s been more than $21 billion worth of OxyContin sold in the US since 2010.

Because prescription painkiller use is generally accepted in society, it can be difficult to identify or address oxycodone abuse. Especially in the cases of legitimate prescriptions, it can be hard to tell the difference between an acceptable dose and abuse. Ultimately, it comes down to the negative consequences that the drug has on the user’s life. A good telltale sign of abuse is when an individual runs out of their prescription before their next script is available for refill.

Common Drug Combinations

Alcohol and benzodiazepines are 2 of the most dangerous substances to combine with oxycodone. Because oxycodone, alcohol, and benzos all depress the central nervous system (CNS), mixing them can be extremely damaging and potentially fatal. This deadly cocktail can slow down breathing and cardiac function to the point of complete failure. Even if the combination doesn’t cause death, it can cause irreversible damage to the brain and other major organs.

Additionally, people addicted to oxycodone also commonly abuse marijuana, benzodiazepines, and stimulants. These drugs may be taken to either amplify or mitigate the effects of oxycodone.

Oxycodone can also be a gateway to heroin use. When a person addicted to oxycodone can no longer get their prescriptions filled, they may turn to heroin for a cheaper, more accessible drug with similar effects.

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Oxycodone Abuse Statistics

>13 million


According to the United States Department of Justice, more than 13 million Americans abuse oxycodone, including some children as young as 12 years old.



As of 2020, 2.4% of 12th graders had used OxyContin within the past year.


hospital visits

Approximately 100,000 people are admitted to hospitals for the misuse of painkillers each year.

Despite the dangers of the drug, many people still abuse oxycodone, often in combination with alcohol. Some have developed a tolerance, while others don’t yet realize the risk. If you or someone you know is struggling with oxycodone addiction, don’t wait any longer to get help. Contact a treatment provider today for help with this dangerous addiction.