Last Updated: August 4, 2020

Oxycodone is a strong painkiller that is found in Percocet and OxyContin. It is one of the most abused prescription drugs and those who are in pain often find that they develop a tolerance to the drug, even after taking it as prescribed. This often leads to a dependence and possible addiction to Oxycodone.

What is Oxycodone?

Oxycodone is created by altering what is known as thebaine, an organic chemical found in opium. Designated as an opioid, or semi-synthetic opiate, Oxycodone shares a general classification with hydrocodone and oxymorphone, as well as the more serious drug heroin. Oxycodone is classified as a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act. This means that while it has a definite medical purpose, there is a high potential for dependency and abuse.

Oxycodone is prescribed for those with moderate to severe pain, and those with chronic or long-term pain. According to Florida State University:

Chronic pain is defined as “pain that typically lasts >3 months or past the time of normal tissue healing” (Dowell, Haegerich, & Chou, 2016).

Often, it is prescribed for moderate to severe pain and is the primary ingredient in a variety of painkillers. These include the aforementioned Percocet and OxyContin but also includes drugs like Roxicodone and more. Depending on the brand as well as the dose, the pills come in a variety of colors, sizes, and shapes. In fact, sometimes it is prescribed in a liquid form for those who have problems taking pills. Many times it is prescribed in combination with other medicines such as Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen. These all have different brand names depending on the formula and the following below are some of the most common.

OxyContin

This is a prescription drug commonly abused. One of the reasons is its controlled-release formulation. This type of prescription drug helps users be free of pain for up to 12 hours. The problem with OxyContin is that some want to accelerate the relief and may misuse it. This includes injecting it after dissolving it in water, as well as crushing and snorting it, This allows the user to feel the relief from the drug all at once.

Percocet

Another common drug using oxycodone is Percocet. In this formula, acetaminophen (the main ingredient in Tylenol) is combined with oxycodone. Like OxyContin, users may crush and snort the drug to bypass the wait time on pain relief. It is misused by taking more than prescribed, injecting it, chewing it, or taking it longer than prescribed.

Roxicodone

While Roxicodone may not be as familiar as OxyContin or Percocet, it is another form of oxycodone. This one also treats chronic pain, as well as moderate to severe pain that is not long-term. There are two ways this drug is used – either before surgery to relax the patient or for long-term chronic pain where it is taken on a regular basis. Like the other formulations, users may abuse it in similar ways to Percocet and OxyContin.

There are different signs and symptoms of oxycodone recreational use, dependence, and addiction.

Recreational users may do the following:

  • Use oxycodone at parties or with friends
  • Take more than their prescription allows
  • Take oxycodone on days they feel bad mentally
  • Feel powerful euphoria when taking it

Those who have a dependence may:

  • Crave the drug when not taking it
  • Experience withdrawal symptoms when not taking it
  • Feel “off” when not using oxycodone
  • Need more of the drug to maintain the same high or relief

Users with an addiction may experience the following:

  • Endanger themselves to get the drug or use it in dangerous ways (Too much, etc)
  • Allow their personal relationships, work, and health to deteriorate
  • Put oxycodone first in their lives
  • Have financial issues due to the drug

Effects and Abuse of Oxycodone

There are many forms of abuse when it comes to oxycodone and those are mentioned above (snorting, injecting, etc) There are effects of the drug that mimic the use of heroin, which is why it is often abused. These include:

  • Euphoria
  • Happiness
  • Calm
  • Dizziness
  • Minimized anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Confidence
  • Relaxation

Oxycodone Statistics

There aren’t as many statistics available on oxycodone by itself but as an opioid, there are plenty of numbers showcasing the rising levels of dependence, addiction, and overdoses.

According to The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM):

Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the US, with 52,404 lethal drug overdoses in 2015. Opioid addiction is driving this epidemic, with 20,101 overdose deaths related to prescription pain relievers. Of the 20.5 million Americans 12 or older that had a substance use disorder in 2015, 2 million had a substance use disorder involving prescription pain relievers.

Oxycodone Addiction Treatment

The good news is that oxycodone addiction is treatable. Typically, this treatment combines counseling services or behavioral psychotherapy along with the use of some form of medication. There are three FDA-approved options for people with opioid problems: the anti-opioid medication naltrexone, the weak opioid medication buprenorphine, and the strong opioid medication methadone. These drugs belong to the same family as opioids but do not get the user high. Instead, they work to fend off withdrawal symptoms and are effective at helping with addiction treatment.

Along with medication treatment, counseling and behavioral therapy work by what is known as medication-assisted treatment, or MAT. This type of therapy helps provide reinforcement behavior and mental health.

Transformations Treatment Center helps with oxycodone problems in a holistic setting that is tailored for each individual. We provide MAT with naltrexone or the buprenorphine-based medication Suboxone. In addition, we offer supportive therapy, as well as specialized programming options that maximize your comfort during treatment and help elevate long-term success. For more information on how we can assist you or a loved one, contact us today.

 

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