Oxycodone is one of the most abused medications in the United States. Its popularity continues to grow despite efforts being made by government and leading health centers to prevent the abuse of the drug. The medication was first synthesized in 1916 and has been misused almost since its initial release on the market. Nowadays, it’s relatively easy to get and legal which is why more people are turning to this drug as a means of coping with chronic pain or distressing emotions.
Oxycodone abuse and addiction is not slowing down. Rehab centers continue to treat a large percentage of oxycodone addicts while trying to create awareness and education about the harmful effects of abuse. If you believe you know someone who is abusing oxycodone, here are some facts you should learn about.
Oxycodone is a synthetic opioid analgesic used to treat moderate to severe pain. Its common trade name is Oxycontin, but it is also found in Percodan and Tylox. In the early 2000’s, oxycodone was widely regarded as a welcoming drug. This was because it was one of the first medications to be a time released drug which aimed to prevent abuse and addiction. Unfortunately, users found a way around this by crushing and snorting the tablets or capsules. There are many different street names for the drug.
Oxycodone has many different street names, and these vary depending on the location and current trends. The DEA’s listed common street names for oxycodone include Oxy, OC, cotton, kickers, Ox, OCs, beans, rushbo, orange counties, killers and hillbilly heroin.
The schedule II substance must be prescribed by a doctor. This has led to a significant increase in doctor shopping (an activity in which someone goes to multiple doctors for a prescription), as well as illegal street and online trading. In 2013, the U.S. was the biggest global consumer for oxycodone; with a total of 81% of the world market being distributed in the country. In 2012, Florida listed 735 deaths being a result of an oxycodone overdose.
Unique to oxycodone is the effect it’s had in all different age groups, ethnicities and backgrounds. Some people believe it’s most popular in affluent white collar communities where the addiction would be easier to mask and also, easier to accept. Abuse is also seen in school age children and the elderly. According to one survey, up to one million people have abused oxycodone at least once.
While oxycodone is meant to alleviate pain, it is abused mainly because it produces euphoric like effects similar to that of other opioids. Many users claim they abuse the drug because they were trying to escape the reality of a situation. Other abusers, especially younger generations, do not understand the effects and use the drug to “fit in” socially. In some cases, people develop oxycodone addictions after sustaining an injury in which they were prescribed the drug for an extended period of time.
Alcohol and oxycodone is a very popular combination because it heightens the effects, even though it carries extremely high risks. New York Rangers hockey player, Derek Boogaard, died from this cocktail leading to large media campaigns to create awareness. Both substances depress the nervous system and can cause respiratory problems and a slowed heart beat. As a result organ damage, brain damage, stroke or death can occur.
With the frequent use of oxycodone, a tolerance will build causing the user to need more of the medication to get the same effects. Although everyone is different, frequent use can mean daily or bi-daily use for several weeks or months depending on the dosage, body weight and whether or not the individual has battled an addiction in the past.
Tolerance to oxycodone can rapidly occur; with addiction soon to follow. Once this has happened, the individual may physically, emotionally and mentally begin to change. They may seem distant, “zoned out” or reclusive. Irritability, anger and depression may sprout out of seemingly nowhere, and this can be attributed to the need for more of the drug. Over time, financial, legal, workplace and relationship issues can develop. If an oxycodone rehab, or some other form of help, is not sought, these effects will continue to increase until a serious problem results.
Addiction to the drug will lead to withdrawal symptoms whenever the user does not take oxycodone. These can set in within a few hours and last for up to a week. The intensity of the symptoms will depend on the length of abuse and the amount used. Withdrawal symptoms can include restlessness, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cold flashes, sweating, involuntary twitching and irritability.
Oxycodone addictions are not to be taken lightly. The physical and mental factors of the addiction make it very difficult for a person to quit without the assistance of a rehab centre.