Oxycodone interacts with opioid receptors in the brain, the same receptors that respond to heroin. Prescription medications that contain oxycodone include Percocet and OxyContin, two of the most abused prescription medications in the United States.
Percocet combines oxycodone and acetaminophen (also known as Tylenol). A fast-acting opioid, Percocet can last about five hours.
Oxycodone is also found in OxyContin, a brand name, an extended-release form of oxycodone that offers pain relief for up to 12 hours.
High doses of oxycodone produce feelings of euphoria, relaxation, and pleasure. Oxycodone has also been known to reduce anxiety and stress.
Because oxycodone has a high risk of abuse and addiction, it has been classified as a Schedule II controlled substance by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
What Is Considered Oxycodone Abuse?
In 2017, about 1.4 percent of people ages 12 and over, stated they had abused oxycodone, according to a survey conducted by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).
The reasons for oxycodone abuse vary from person to person. Pain management is the beginning for some, managing chronic pain or after surgery pain. Others abuse oxycodone to get high, distort reality, for tension relief, or to intensify the effects of other drugs.
Oxycodone abuse is taking the medication in any way other than prescribed. Crushing, snorting or injecting oxycodone, or taking in higher amounts than prescribed, are all considered abuse.
Abusing oxycodone can increase tolerance, which means the person will need more of the drug to get the same effects. As doses increase, dependence can develop, as can possible oxycodone addiction.
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Oxycodone Abuse Side Effects
Oxycodone abuse has a number of effects, and the drug often affects people differently. Many individuals experience a variety of psychological, cognitive, behavioral, and physical side effects when abusing oxycodone.
Psychological/behavioral effects of oxycodone abuse:
- mood swings
- reduced anxiety
- problems concentrating
- poor decision-making
- missing work or school
- intense relaxation
- memory issues
- loss of interest
- being unable to stop taking oxycodone
Physical effects of oxycodone abuse:
- slurred words
- weight loss
- decreased heartbeat
- respiration issues
- noticeable weight changes
- disheveled clothing
- poor hygiene
If a person starts behaving in a way that is not their usual behavior and they are taking oxycodone, there may be cause for concern.
Contributing Factors For Oxycodone Abuse
Research has discovered may possible reasons why people battle with oxycodone abuse and addiction.
Addiction has been found to run in families. If an immediate family member has a history of addiction, it is possible that you may also struggle with substance abuse or addiction due to genetics.
Outside influences have also been linked to oxycodone abuse. Lack of support, poor coping skills, or access to illegal oxycodone may also put a person at risk for developing an addiction to oxycodone.
Risks For Oxycodone Addiction
There are several factors that increase the risk of developing an addiction to oxycodone, which may be:
- family history of substance abuse or addiction
- family history of mental illness
- history of trauma or mental illness
- prior substance abuse
- having a prescription for oxycodone
- early exposure to substance abuse
Symptoms Of Oxycodone Addiction
Tolerance, dependence, and withdrawal occur with oxycodone addiction, as well as several other observable symptoms, including:
- doctor shopping
- neglecting responsibilities to use oxycodone
- spending a lot of time and money looking for and using oxycodone
- continuing to abuse oxycodone despite consequences
- stealing or forging prescriptions
- stealing or asking others for oxycodone
Opioid addiction can affect anyone and is not limited to a specific group. Substance abuse programs are available to help anyone in need of treatment for oxycodone addiction.
Can You Overdose On Oxycodone?
Opioid overdose is common in individuals addicted to oxycodone. When tolerance develops, if a person increases their dose too much, an accidental overdose can result.
Taking oxycodone with other drugs can result in oxycodone overdose, especially drugs like alcohol, cocaine, benzos, or other opioids. Combining other drugs with opioids is dangerous and the risk of overdose increases dramatically.
Recently, people operating clandestine labs have been using pill presses to make illicit pills. These pills look exactly like Percocet but actually contain fentanyl. These pills also increased overdose rates in people who abuse oxycodone.
When a person experiences an oxycodone overdose, it is important to contact emergency services. Often, they are equipped with lifesaving Narcan and can help reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
If a person is taking oxycodone and displays any of the following symptoms, call 9-1-1- immediately:
- labored breathing
- nodding out
- clammy skin
- blue lips or fingertips
- slow heart rate
- disorientation or confusion
Consequences Of Oxycodone Addiction
Several consequences can occur when a person becomes addicted to oxycodone. Chemical dependency can result in a variety of avoidable circumstances, which have been known to include:
- suicidal thoughts
- sexual dysfunction
- legal problems
- family discord
- arrest and/or incarceration
- relationship issues
- vision problems
- unemployment or school dropout
- damage to organ systems
- social isolation
- financial problems
What Are The Symptoms Of Oxycodone Withdrawal?
A person addicted to oxycodone attempting to stop taking it will experience withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms range from irritating to unbearable. The following have been reported as oxycodone withdrawal symptoms:
- watery eyes
- runny nose
- muscle spasms
- intense cravings
- painful cramping
Oxycodone Addiction Treatment Options
A certified opioid treatment program (OTP) is qualified to treat oxycodone addiction. These programs are federally regulated and are required to follow specific guidelines and requirements.
These facilities must offer medical detox to assist with the oxycodone withdrawal process. Each individual is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. One person may need additional medications or supplements, while another may benefit from tapering.
Another key element of an OTP is the possibility of medication-assisted therapy or MAT. Using alternative medications, such as Suboxone, Vivitrol, or methadone, in place of oxycodone may be a good option for someone struggling with oxycodone addiction.
Once detox is complete, a resident can anticipate a substance abuse treatment program that includes vocational and educational services, counseling, and medical treatment.
Aftercare planning may also include connecting clients with community resources, enrolling in outpatient services, sober living, or transitional housing.
OTPs offer treatment that caters to the unique needs of each resident, while following specific guidelines regulated by the federal government.
Oxycodone Treatment At Swift River
Swift River offers treatment in three stages: detox, residential, and day treatment. Completing one stage of treatment allows the resident to progress into the next stage of treatment.
During the 30- to the 60-day program at Swift River, residents can expect to receive cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness, psychotherapy, and medically assisted treatment.
Additional options at Swift River include Adventure Therapy, yoga, fly fishing, disc golf, tennis, ropes course, and much more.
Contact our treatment specialists today so we can help you on the path to recovery.
- National Association of Boards of Pharmacy — Internet Drug Outlet Identification Program
- Drug Enforcement Administration — Dangerous fentanyl masked as counterfeit oxycodone, 20,000 pills seized in the Bronx and Manhattan
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration — 2016-2017 NSDUH Estimated Totals By State
- National Institute on Drug Abuse — Opioids