What are the Effects and Symptoms of OxyContin Abuse

The painkiller oxycodone has been abused for decades, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, but with the introduction of OxyContin in 1996, there came a drastic escalation in the rate of oxycodone and OxyContin abuse and addiction. If you recognize signs or symptoms of OxyContin abuse in someone you know, contact Freedom Drug Rehab today to find out how you can help. There are treatment programs at Freedom Drug Rehab specifically designed for those struggling with opioid addiction that can help OxyContin users overcome their dependence on the drug.

OxyContin Abuse

OxyContin is the brand name of a powerful opioid painkiller called oxycodone, which is commonly prescribed to manage moderate to severe pain for which alternative treatment options are inadequate or inappropriate. When taken as directed, OxyContin is believed to be a safe and effective medication for those with pain management issues. However, many people abuse OxyContin to get high, taking the drug more frequently or in larger doses than prescribed to elicit more intense effects than normal use would. OxyContin misuse is a serious problem, and the abuse of the painkiller increases the risk of devastating complications, possibly including death. The symptoms of OxyContin abuse are similar to those associated with other forms of opioid abuse, and may include:

  • Lethargy
  • Dry mouth
  • Slurred speech
  • Weight loss
  • Problems with concentration or memory
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Vomiting
  • Severe itching
  • Lack of interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • Neglecting important obligations

Oxycodone vs. OxyContin

Though both are dangerous when used more frequently or in larger doses than prescribed, there is an important difference between oxycodone and OxyContin. Often considered a generic name for OxyContin, oxycodone is the active ingredient in the opioid painkiller and can be found in many other pain medication formulations, including Percocet, Percodan, and Tylox. In the more powerful OxyContin, oxycodone is the only ingredient. People who abuse OxyContin typically spend the majority of their time obtaining and using the drug, and those suffering from an OxyContin addiction may attempt to get multiple prescriptions from different doctors or otherwise obtain the drug by illegal means.

OxyContin Side Effects

OxyContin is a potent drug designed to alter the user’s sense of pain and his emotional response to pain by acting on the central nervous system, and Oxycontin abuse intensifies these effects, depressing the user’s respiration and decreasing his or her blood pressure, possibly with catastrophic consequences. The most common side effect of OxyContin abuse is a noticeable and unexpected change in behavior, but there are also physical side effects associated with the abuse of the opioid painkiller, including the following:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Respiratory distress
  • Hormonal dysfunction
  • Muscle rigidity
  • Fractures
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coma
  • Death

Another concern is the risk of OxyContin users progressing to more powerful and dangerous drugs, like heroin. Statistics show that people who abuse opioid painkillers are at a greater risk for concurrent or eventual heroin abuse, due to the fact that the drugs are similar and heroin both costs less and is more easily accessible than oxycodone. One study published in August 2013, found that people struggling with an addiction to prescription opioid drugs were 19 times more likely to start using heroin in the year prior to the study.

Opioid Abuse in the United States

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, an estimated 1.9 million Americans are dependent on or abuse opioid painkillers like OxyContin, and approximately 46 painkiller-related deaths occur every day in the United States. Unfortunately, OxyContin addiction can quickly and easily turn into a heroin addiction, which carries an even greater risk of adverse consequences or death. If you or someone you love is abusing OxyContin, don’t hesitate to call for help. Contact Freedom Drug Rehab today to discuss your concerns with a certified addiction recovery counselor.


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