A popular brand of the powerful painkiller oxycodone, OxyContin is a semi-synthetic opiate prescribed to relieve moderate to severe pain. It is prescribed to sufferers ranging from cancer patients to the physically injured.
OxyContin is the controlled-release capsule or pill form of oxycodone. When used as prescribed, it is taken orally and slowly dissolves into the bloodstream over a 12-hour period. On the street, OxyContin is also referred to as drugstore heroin, Oxy, OxyCotton or OC.
OxyContin Abuse and Effects
When abused, OxyContin tablets or capsules are often chewed or crushed and snorted, mixed into a solution and injected, or smoked on tin foil. These techniques override the pills’ time-release feature and flood the brain with the drug. This engages special neuroreceptors to produce an intense “high” or euphoric state similar to that of heroin or opium. Since 2010, OxyContin has been manufactured in tamper-resistant, crush-proof tablets that are impossible to snort or inject. However, the drug can still be abused.
Outward physical symptoms of OxyContin abuse might include:
- Slowed breathing
- Dry mouth
- Constricted pupils
- Nausea and vomiting
OxyContin is a powerful, highly addictive substance that can be abused to the point of overdose. Ingesting OxyContin at unsafe levels can cause permanent brain damage or depress the respiratory system to the point of failure.
Signs of an OxyContin Addiction
Dr Greenwood shares that one of the first signs of an OxyContin addiction is developing a tolerance—requiring more of the substance to achieve the desired effect. Someone prescribed OxyContin may become dependent on the drug due to chemical changes in the brain after prolonged usage, causing him or her to experience withdrawal symptoms if use is ceased or reduced. A dependency can turn into an addiction if left unchecked. In many cases of OxyContin addiction, users will turn to illicit means of obtaining the drug once the doctor’s prescription runs out.
Doctor shopping, fake prescriptions, borrowed prescriptions, using a friend or family member’s tablets or purchasing the substance from a drug dealer can all indicate an addiction has formed. Those suffering from an OxyContin addiction will seek out the drug regardless of the risky behavior or negative consequences it may entail.
- The number of people who have abused oxycontin or used it for recreational purposes (including children as young as 12).
- Misuse of OxyContin rose 152% between 2004 and 2008, to more than 105,000 emergency room visits each year in the US alone each .
- Painkiller addiction (led by Oxycontin and oxycodone) led to more than 35,000 deaths in 2010 alone.
OxyContin is a very difficult addiction to recover from, but there are many people willing and ready to help you get back on track. Dr Greenwood states that there are many different treatment centers that provide both inpatient and outpatient options to help you get and stay clean. Although each center’s specific formula for rehabilitation may vary, the typical model for OxyContin treatment goes like this:
After detox, it is often most effective to engage in an inpatient treatment program that allows the addict to attend meetings, receive counseling and focus on recovery without outside distraction. Group therapy is also a key component of inpatient treatment.
Following a successful inpatient program, outpatient treatment is for those comfortable enough to re-enter their social circles without fear of relapse. Outpatient treatments allow for counseling and therapy as well as groups to bring support and accountability.