Oxycodone, as found in OxyContin or Percocet, is a powerful painkiller and one of the most commonly abused prescription drugs in the country.
Many people who abuse oxycodone start out 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 a quick and dangerous road. 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.
|Descent into Oxycodone Addiction|
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 recovery professional.
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 as a combination product with other drugs, including acetaminophen aspirin, and ibuprofen, with different brand names depending on the combination. Some of the most common brand names for oxycodone-based drugs are:
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 all at once.
Percocet is a combination of oxycodone and acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol). It is commonly prescribed for a number of conditions with pain ranging from mild to severe. 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 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, OC’s, oxycet, oxycotton, hillbilly heroin, berries, killers, percs and roxi’s.
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.
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Oxycodone Effects and Abuse
Taking more than the prescribed dosage, taking the drug for longer than recommended by a doctor, chewing the pills, and crushing then injecting or snorting oxycodone are all considered abuse of Oxycodone. Many people abuse oxycodone for its euphoric effects. As an opioid, oxycodone’s effects are strikingly similar to heroin.
The effects of oxycodone use include:
- Reduced anxiety
With approximately 32 million prescriptions written in 2011 for Percocet alone, the wide use and acceptance of oxycodone in the medical community to treat patients with moderate to severe pain is clear.
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 the drug has on the user’s life. A good tell-tale sign of abuse is when an individual runs out of their prescription early, or before their next script is available for refill.
Common Drug Combinations
Alcohol and benzodiazepines are two of the most dangerous substances to combine with oxycodone. Because oxycodone, alcohol, and benzos all depress the central nervous system, 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 major organs.
Oxycodone can also be a gateway for 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.
Oxycodone Abuse Statistics
According to the United States Department of Justice, more than 13 million Americans abuse oxycodone, including children as young as 12 years old.
In 2010, there were nearly 5,500 first time abusers of oxycodone each day.
Approximately 100,00 people are admitted to hospitals for the misuse of painkillers each year.
Despite the dangers of the drug, many people still abuse oxycodone and often use it with alcohol. Some have developed a tolerance, while others don’t realize the risk. If you or someone you know is struggling with oxycodone addiction, don’t wait any longer to get help. Contact a rehab specialist today for help with this dangerous addiction.
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