What Is Oxycodone?
Oxycodone is a prescription Opioid pain reliever used for moderate to severe pain. A semi-synthetic opiate, Oxycodone is derived from Thebaine, a chemical found in Opium. Oxycodone is most commonly used for post-surgery recovery, broken bones, steady pain, clinically sensitive pain response, chronic pain, steady pain, and cancer-related pain.
Oxycodone is most frequently prescribed in tablet form to be taken orally. However, many who look to abuse the drug will crush the tablet to snort it or dissolve it in a solution to inject it into a vein. This is most frequently done to tablets that are not time-released, as it is a way to get the effects all at once, although time-release tablets are also abused.
Due to its high purity, Oxycodone and synthetic copycats have become popular on the streets under the names of Oxy, OCs, Oxycet, Oxycotton, Hillbilly Heroin, Killers, Percs, Roxi Raspberries, and Berries.
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Effects of Oxycodone Use
Given its purpose as a pain reliever, Oxycodone provides euphoric effects similar to other opioids. However, users claim that it does not provide a rush similar to that of Heroin. Oxycodone works by affecting the Opioid receptors in the brain and nervous system. The drug blocks pain signals and causes the release of Dopamine, which in turn produces feelings of pleasure and euphoria. They People who have experienced this reported a “euphoric” feeling. Because of how addictive this feeling, and Opioids in general, can be, pharmaceutical brands like OxyContin built in time-release functions to prevent abuse. They also introduced crush-proof tablets that make it impossible to snort or inject the drug.
The developers engineered OxyContin to dissolve over a period of 12 hours for long-lasting relief. However, users soon discovered that ingesting the crushed tablet before gave them the relief all at once, with a strength similar to that of Morphine.
Many cases of Oxycodone addiction are due to innocent mistakes by a person who is experiencing pain and has been on a prescription for a long period of time. Because of this, their bodies have built up a tolerance to its effects. They still have more medication and the pain isn’t getting any better, so they just take an additional dose. Their pain is gone for now, but this is just the beginning. Soon, they’ll need more and more to make the pain subside. When the prescription ends, they realize they have grown dependent on it to function normally. Many patients will begin to “doctor shop” to obtain multiple prescriptions. If they are eventually unable to go back to the doctor for more, they turn to illicit means.
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This is a common story of a person just trying to take care of their pain that eventually leads them to look for illegal, dangerous ways to self-medicate. The shame a person feels in realizing this often pushes them from admitting their mistake. Sadly, without confronting the issue, they may never receive the help they need. If this has happened to you, do not be afraid to speak out. It happens more often than you might suspect. While it may seem like no one is being hurt from this, you may not realize the damage this addiction is causing to you or your your relationships.
If you suspect a loved one might be abusing their prescription medication, or have noticed they’ve been taking it for a long period of time, look for these signs:
- Dilated pupils
- Short attention span
- Inability to feel pleasure
- Borrowing or stealing
- Problems at work or school
- Engaging in reckless behavior
- Changes in mood
- Sudden weight loss
- Problems with coordination and reflexes
- Excessive yawning
- Impaired memory and judgement
- Mood swings
- Anger outbursts
- Change in friends
- Depression or sadness
These could indicate that they’ve turned from using the drug for pain and are now dependent on or addicted to it.
Treatment for Oxycodone Addiction
Often, the biggest deterrent to getting clean are the pains that come with symptoms of withdrawal. Oxycodone can have withdrawals as severe as any other Opioid if quit abruptly and altogether. However, unlike illicit drugs, Oxycodone does not need to be quit immediately for detox. Instead, it can be progressively weaned off so that the symptoms of withdrawal won’t hurt as bad, creating a less extreme process that can be much easier for people suffering from addiction to cope with.
Still, this isn’t something you should tackle on your own. It can be incredibly difficult to have the control to wean yourself off a substance you’re addicted to. If you’re not sure where to go, please reach out to a dedicated treatment specialist who can help you with your next steps to recovery.
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