OxyContin is a formulation of Oxycodone, the potent, semi-synthetic painkiller of the opioid family. OxyContin is a very potent and effective painkiller - so much so that it is the go-to medication for people suffering from bone degeneration, neurological degeneration, end-stage cancer, Etc.
When used responsibly, which is to say under tight prescription control, Oxy is safe and effective. However, overuse, misuse and abuse of the drug is dangerous. It will lead to dependence and ultimately addiction. People have lost their lives as a result of abusing the drug.
OxyContin can be taken in pill form; it can be crushed and snorted; it can be smoked using a straw and tin foil; and it can be injected into veins.
Abuse of Oxy often comes with dire ramifications. Addicts will often find their entire lives revolving around the drug. They will spend all day seeking it out and looking for ways to raise enough money to get it. Many of them, owing to the expensive nature of Oxy, revert to abusing heroin. It is a fact that many heroin users start with prescription opioids like Oxy, before turning to it when accessing the former becomes too difficult.
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OxyContin was developed by Purdue Pharma, who still make it exclusively to this day. It is an extended release drug. This is to mean that it has been approved to treat patients in pain, particularly those who require 12 hours of steady pain management. End-stage cancer patients are an example.
The DEA has listed OxyContin as a Schedule II drug. It is a dangerous and habit-forming drug.
The number of prescription opioid overdose deaths, including those of Oxy, tripled between 1990 and 2010. However, since 2010, owing to stricter prescription protocols, abuse of prescription opioids like Oxy have plummeted, while the abuse of heroin has climbed steadily. It is not far-fetched to theorize that many people who cease using prescription opioids do not cease to abuse drugs altogether, but hop onto the heroin wagon instead.
Yet another reason for the lower figures of Oxy abuse is that Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer, introduced an abuse-deterrent form of OxyContin.
Using opioid prescriptions like OxyContin will result in a short-lived euphoria. Long-term use and abuse will lead to tolerance and dependence. Like all drugs, painkillers such as Oxy work to mask pain. They do not "cure" anything, so to speak. Attempting to cure the pain by repeatedly seeking out the likes of Oxy will only lead to tolerance. There are people who use absurd amounts of Oxy just to reach their daily pain-relief and euphoria targets.
Withdrawal symptoms will include muscle and bone pains, restlessness, insomnia, vomiting, diarrhea, goose bumps and cold flashes. You may also have involuntary leg movements.
One of the more severe risks of OxyContin is that it can depress your respiratory system so much that breathing becomes dangerously slowed. This can be fatal.
Some abusers either supplement heroin with Oxy, substitute heroin for Oxy or replace Oxy with heroin. This is because both have similar effects on the CNS.
OxyContin is widely referred to as the "hillbilly heroin." It has been marked as a major crime-driver in the Appalachian communities. In one particular county, the opioid was estimated to have been behind 80% of all crime.
One of the primary signs that you are becoming addicted to OxyContin is the steady development of tolerance. You will find yourself requiring more and more of the drug to achieve the desired effect. Oxy causes chemical changes in the brain. Unchecked, dependence will ultimately lead to addiction.
Attempting to quit cold turkey will unearth some particularly unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Cutting down on Oxy intake will have similar effects. If you are attempting to get off OxyContin, it is best that you enroll in a facility where detoxing will be safe and controlled.
Many people who get addicted to Oxy will resort to increasingly dark and shady ways of accessing the drug. They will seek out street dealers or try to finesse a prescription from medical doctors.
Doctors are affected by Oxy dependence and addiction. They walk a fine line so that they do not operate as legal drug dealers. However, being too stringent with prescriptions may lead to persons who genuinely need the drug being deprived of it.
There are persons whom, upon being unable to access the drug, resort to self-injury in a bid to get prescribed Oxy. They may also sweet talk relatives and friends into handing over any pills they may have been prescribed.
Armed pharmacy robberies have also taken place, where the robber demands Oxy and does not pursue monetary gain. In the Eastern US, OxyContin is the drug that has kept law enforcement authorities on their toes the most.
Abusers of Oxy do not like to take the pill orally, as it takes time before the euphoric effects set in. Many of them prefer to crush the pills and either snort the powder, or mix it into a solution and inject it. They also heat the pill on a piece of foil and use a straw to smoke it.
However, since the year 2010, OxyContin pills have been manufactured so that they are crush-proof and tamper-resistant. This has made it harder to abuse. However, it hasn't made it outright impossible to abuse the opioid.
Some physical symptoms of Oxy abuse include:
OxyContin is a very potent, highly addictive drug. It is possible to abuse OxyContin to the point of overdosing on it. Taking large doses of Oxy can lead to permanent brain damage. It can also lead to such severe respiratory system depression that respiratory failure occurs.
Anxiety and depression are mood disorders. Persons with anxiety issues will often struggle to strike up conversations and interact with people. Using and abusing Oxy may make anxiety and depression worse in persons already suffering from them.
Even if you do not have any mood disorders, it is possible to develop them upon abusing prescription opioids like Oxy. Research has shown that 10% of persons prescribed prescription opioids developed a depressive disorder.
Signs of Oxy abuse include using the drug without a prescription, using a larger amount than the one prescribed and taking it at a frequency that is higher than the doctor's recommendation. Yet another sign is using the opioid in a manner that is not recommended. For instance, needing to crush the pill and snort, inject or smoke it already points to an addiction.
If you find it necessary to tamper with the Oxy pill to arrive at the desired effects faster, an addiction may be forming. Purdue Pharma has gone to lengths to introduce tamper-proof OxyContin, but addicts have found ways around it and continue to abuse it.
An OxyContin addict will dedicate lots of time trying to access the drug. An Oxy addict will also display unnatural levels of concentration. Once tolerance develops, addicts will need to use increasingly large doses to achieve a high.
Attempting to stop using the drug will lead to withdrawal symptoms and effects. You will be hit by waves of cravings, and will want to use the drug just to lift yourself off of the slump you are in. Here are ten symptoms and signs of Oxy addiction. If you find several of these in your own life or in that of a loved one, it is likely that there is an addiction problem in place:
1. Usage increase: The dosage will climb over time. This is because the body is growing tolerant to the drug, and larger amounts are required to achieve a regular high.
2. Change in personality: You will notice subtle and not-so-subtle energy and mood shifts. By and by, everything else will take a secondary seat to the need for OxyContin and its access.
3. Social withdrawal: You may withdraw from family and friends, to the point where it is noticeable and relationships get strained.
4. Ongoing use: You will continue to use the drug, long after the medical condition it was prescribed for has improved. At this point, you will no longer be using it as a pain reliever.
5. Time spent obtaining prescriptions: Addicts burn through lots of time seeking out the drug. They will track down people they think will sell them the drug. They will drive great distances to access it. They will visit many doctors in their attempts to get a prescription.
6. Change in day-to-day habits and personal appearance: Personal hygiene will take a backseat to drug use. Many OxyContin addicts are very disheveled looking. Sleeping habits may change drastically, and insomnia may creep in. Addicts may also have a constantly running nose, a perpetual cough and red, glazed eyes.
7. Neglecting responsibilities: Previously-responsible addicts will start to neglect household bills and chores. They will call in sick with increasing frequency and will slack often.
8. Increased sensitivity: You will be overly stimulated by normal sounds and sights. You will have very little grip on your emotions, and you may have great mood swings. Hallucinations will also be on the menu.
9. Blackouts and general forgetfulness: It is not uncommon for addicts to suffer blackouts. For instance, you may have interactions with people and engage in activity and have no recollection of ever doing it.
10. Defensiveness: Addicts typically become overly defensive. They overanalyze simple questions and lash out as they try and hide their drug use problem. Especially when the user feels like he or she is under scrutiny, they may switch from defensiveness to outright animosity.
Abusing OxyContin can lead to a fatal overdose. Once an overdose occurs, you require prompt medical attention. You will require injection or nasal spraying of naloxone, which works to reverse the overdose. OxyContin and its fellow opioids suppress the CNS, and this makes them very dangerous as they can depress the respiratory system to the point where breathing stops.
Symptoms of an overdose may include:
If you think you are addicted to OxyContin, or that a loved one is hooked on the drug, it is necessary to approach a rehab facility. Many rehab facilities will combine multiple treatment methods and therapies to help you get clean.
It may be harder to steer a loved one toward sobriety, especially if they are in denial. It is best that you wait until they are sober before approaching them. Attempting to have the conversation in them while they are under the influence will be useless.
An OxyContin addiction will often be accompanied by physiological and physical dependence. When you are not using the drug, you may experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, as your body tries to adapt to the absence of the drug. These withdrawal symptoms often scare addicts away from reaching out and getting help for their addiction.
Remember to be compassionate when talking to a loved one about getting help for their addiction. You will not make any headway by blaming them for their addiction- you will only succeed in alienating them further.
The right OxyContin addiction rehab for you or a loved one will be dependent on multiple factors. For instance, how much have you been using? How long have you been abusing it? Do you have any mental health disorders in place? How is the support structure at home like? Is it strong? Non-existent, perhaps?
You will need professional attention to truly achieve sobriety. The medical professionals will first evaluate you, so that they can be able to draw up an effective rehab program for you. The next step will be detoxing from the drug. After these initial steps, a quality rehab program will be important so that you can remain drug-free.
A quality program of rehab will include: