Oxycodone Abuse: Effects, Signs & Symptoms
Oxycodone is a prescription narcotic used to manage pain, but it is also a schedule II controlled substance as listed by the Drug Enforcement Administration.1 This is because oxycodone, and its brand name product OxyContin, have a high potential for abuse and can cause serious substance use disorder. Know the signs of abuse and what addiction to oxycodone looks like. Treatment and rehab are available, along with medical treatment for this potentially fatal drug addiction.
Symptoms and Side Effects of Oxycodone Addiction
It’s important to be able to recognize the signs of addiction to this drug if you are concerned about someone you know. It is also necessary to know the signs that someone is abusing it. Any use of oxycodone that is not as prescribed by a doctor is considered abuse: using someone else’s prescription, taking larger doses, or taking it more frequently, for instance. Also look out for indications that someone is high on oxycodone, which may include:2
- Relaxation and drowsiness
- Confusion, lack of awareness of surroundings
- Trouble concentrating
- Slurred speech
- Impaired coordination
- Mood swings
- Smaller pupils
If a loved one often shows signs of being high on an opioid like oxycodone, it is cause for concern. Misuse of this highly addictive drug can quickly lead to a serious substance use disorder with life-changing consequences. The diagnostic criteria for an opioid use disorder include:3
- Trying but failing to cut back on use of oxycodone
- Using more of it than you meant to on multiple occasions
- Spending a lot of your time using oxycodone, recovering from using it, or seeking it out
- Craving oxycodone when not using it
- Struggling in relationships with those you care about because of oxycodone use
- Repeatedly failing to meet responsibilities
- Giving up time spent on other activities in favor of drug use
- Using oxycodone even in situations that put you at risk
- Using the drug in spite of physical or mental health problems that are caused or exacerbated by it
- Developing a tolerance to oxycodone and needing to use more and more to get high
- Experiencing withdrawal when not using
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1Drug Enforcement Administration. Drug Scheduling.
2Mayo Clinic. Drug Addiction.
3American Psychiatric Association. Opioid Use Disorder Diagnostic Criteria.