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Signs of OxyContin Addiction

OxyContin is the brand name for an opioid analgesic containing the active ingredient oxycodone. OxyContin is a legal narcotic that is available, by prescription, to treat severe pain. It is classified as a Schedule II drug, meaning it has a high potential for drug addiction and is only available by prescription from a licensed physician. OxyContin most commonly exists in tablet form. These round pills come in 10mg, 20mg, 40mg, 80mg and 160mg dosages. OxyContin also comes in capsule or liquid form. There are many physical and emotional signs of OxyContin addiction.

OxyContin addiction will leave the user suffering physically painful symptoms if their bodies do not get more OxyContin. Signs of OxyContin addiction can include insomnia, muscle and bone pain, sweats, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, stomach cramping, muscle twitching, as well as other physical effects. The increase in OxyContin addictions has resulted in criminal acts to steal OxyContin. Now, OxyContin labeling changes are being made in hopes of reducing the risk of over prescribing OxyContin and as a result, reducing OxyContin addiction.

When patients are in extreme pain and take OxyContin as directed, or to the point where their pain is adequately controlled, it is not abuse or addiction. Abuse occurs when patients take more than is needed for pain control, especially if they take it to get high. Patients who take their medication in a manner that grossly differs from a physician’s directions are probably abusing that drug.

If a patient continues to seek excessive pain medication after pain management is achieved, the patient may be addicted. OxyContin addiction is characterized by the repeated, compulsive use of a substance despite adverse social, psychological, and/or physical consequences.

OxyContin drug is crushed and then ingested, snorted, or diluted in water and injected. Crushing or diluting the tablet disarms the timed-release action of OxyContin to cause a quick and powerful heroin-like high. Some areas in the country have replaced the use of heroin with the drug OxyContin.

OxyContin’s manufacturer, Purdue Pharma, has taken steps to reduce the potential for abuse of the medication. An alternative to OxyContin without the addictive traits is being studied, but if another medicine is created it will not be available for a significant amount of time. Until then, Purdue Pharma has been trying to develop ways of preventing more instances of abuse and addiction to OxyContin.


Signs of OxyContin addiction included but are not limited to:

  • Slow breathing (less than ten breaths a minute is really serious trouble)
  • Small, pinpoint pupils
  • Confusion
  • Being tired, nodding off, or passing out
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Apathy (they don’t care about anything)
  • Cold and clammy skin
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures

A lot of these signs of OxyContin addiction can make people think their friend is drunk. And they may be tempted to let them sleep it off, or tell their parents they had too much to drink. But don’t. The friend could go to sleep and never wake up.