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Oxycodone Addiction and Abuse

Oxycodone, a potent painkiller, comes in many forms and is one of the most addictive drugs available by prescription.

Oxycodone Addiction

oxycodone addiction pill
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
Recreational use Recreational
use
User DependenceAddiction Addiction
  • Taking more oxycodone than prescribed
  • Using oxycodone with friends or at parties
  • Looking for oxycodone for relief on bad days
  • Feeling intense euphoria during use
  • Craving oxycodone to cope with personal problems
  • Needing more oxycodone to achieve a high
  • Nodding off or feeling drowsy in public
  • Hiding oxycodone use or feeling deep shame
  • 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 seriously hooked on oxycodone usually require a medically managed detox and a good treatment program to prevent relapse. For help finding treatment, please call us now.

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. 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 all 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 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

Roxicodone is a rapid release formula of oxycodone. It is often given to a patient before surgery to sedate or calm them. 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, killers, percs and roxi’s.

People prescribed an oxycodone-based painkiller may be suffering from cancer or arthritis, 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, morphine and codeine. 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.

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 the drug.

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Oxycodone Effects and Abuse

Oxycodone abuse is defined as taking the drug without a prescription or taking more than directed. 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:

  • Happiness
  • Reduced anxiety
  • Confidence
  • Relaxation
With approximately 32 million prescriptions written in 2011 for Percocet alone, the wide use and acceptance of oxycodone 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.

Common Drug Combinations

Alcohol is one of the most dangerous substances to combine with oxycodone. Because both oxycodone and alcohol depress the central nervous system, mixing the two can be damaging at best and fatal at worst. This deadly cocktail can slow down breathing and cardiac function to the point of complete failure. Even if the combination doesn’t cause overdose, it can cause irreversible damage to the brain and 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 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

13+million Americans

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

5,500first-time abusers

In 2010, there were nearly 5,500 first time abusers of oxycodone each day.

100Khospital visits

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. Call us now for help beating this dangerous addiction.

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Sources & Author Last Edited: February 2, 2016

  1. Center for Substance Abuse Research. (2013). Oxycodone. Retrieved on March 4, 2014, from: http://www.cesar.umd.edu/cesar/drugs/oxycodone.asp
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