Understanding Oxycodone Use, Abuse, Addiction & Recovery

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Facts About Oxycodone

  • Oxycontin is the most commonly used brand name for oxycodone (also, Roxicodone and Oxecta)
  • Oxycodone is a potent synthetic opiate that is legally prescribed to help people experiencing moderate to severe pain
  • According to the DEA, nearly 60 million prescriptions for “oxycodone containing drugs” were written in 2013
  • Over 16 million people are reported to have abused oxycodone at one time or another (according to the DEA study)
  • Some users of oxycodone will crush the pills and snort them, or dissolve them in liquid so they can be injected

For many people, oxycodone is a drug that helps them get through a painful injury or illness without suffering such serious pain. The drug is prescribed to people with painful cancers, burn victims, and accident victims. Oxycodone is effective but is also a highly addictive drug that is frequently abused.

Oxycodone is Also Called:

  • Cotton (As in “Oxycotton”)
  • OxyContin (and other brand names)
  • OCs
  • Orange County
  • Os
  • Oxys

Signs/Symptoms of Oxycodone Abuse

The feelings experienced by oxycodone users result from the drug’s activity at opioid receptors throughout the body.  Oxycodone (and other opiate based drugs) relieve pain by stimulating the body’s reward pleasure center.

A person who is on an opiate like oxycodone may “nod off” or abruptly falls asleep and reawaken during a conversation or task. They may have shallow breathing or seem drowsy and heavy. A person who abuses oxycodone may be in a state of euphoria. They may be confused or incoherent if you try to talk to them.

Users of opioids frequently feel nauseous or throw up as the drug takes hold of their senses. A person who is abusing oxycodone may have multiple bottles of pills or appear to ration their pills as they build a tolerance. Some users develop a tolerance to their prescription quickly, needing more of the drug for pain relief or to simply feel high again.

Dangers of Long-Term Oxycodone Abuse

When a person abuses oxycodone regularly, they will develop a tolerance for the drug, needing more quantities to get high. Users who become addicted to this powerful opiate may overdose on the drug, resulting in respiratory failure or liver damage. Some people will die or fall into a coma after an overdose. People who use take large amounts of oxycodone run the risk of heart attack or stroke. Some men who take oxycodone regularly may have problems with their testosterone levels. Others have reported an enlargement of the prostate. Other long-term effects of oxycodone abuse include excessive sweating, swelling or edema in the arms and legs and even chronic constipation.

Opioid abusers tend to be malnourished due to their drug use. They are often more susceptible to skin troubles and infections such as staph or MSRA.

The Oxycodone – Heroin Connection

Of course one of the main dangers of oxycodone abuse is the common transition to other drugs  – specifically heroin.  While this might seem a shocking leap, even to the person who is abusing oxycodone, the fact is that withdrawals from opiates can be so difficult to cope with, the individuals standards of safety and judgement are radically compromised.

Signs and Symptoms of Oxycodone Dependency/Addiction

A person who uses oxycodone regularly over a period of time may become addicted to the drug. When addicted, they need more and more of the drug to feel good because they have built a tolerance to it. Once addicted, a person using oxycodone will need to continue to use the drug or face uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

A person with an addiction will spend more and more of their time seeking and using the drug. They may visit multiple doctors in hope of getting duplicate prescriptions or seek out drugs in an illicit drug market. They might even buy them off the Internet from a website. Someone who is becoming addicted very well may hoard, ration, or crush their pills to snort them.

When a person continues to use oxycodone in such a manner, their life can quickly spiral out of control. They may experience job loss or financial problems, as the drug takes over more and more of their life. They may cut off friendships or have troubled relationships at home. They may steal from friends or loved ones to finance their addiction.

If a chronic user of oxycodone or other opiates tries to quit using the drugs, they will experience intense withdrawal symptoms that can make them very uncomfortable. They may have “the sweats”, body aches, and sickness such as nausea or vomiting. Sometimes a person detoxing will experience fever and chills. They will also feel an intense craving for the drug.

Because of these intense withdrawal symptoms, addiction specialists recommend that oxycodone users who want to quit to taper or detox from the drug in a safe, professional setting where they can be monitored for complications and made as comfortable as possible.

How to Get Help for an Oxycodone Addiction

If you think you have a problem with oxycodone or another drug, you’re in the right place. We’re here to help you reclaim your life and learn to live drug-free in a safe, therapeutic environment.

If you’re ready to get help and want to know what options are available, please give us a call. It’s 100% confidential. You deserve to get your life back!