Oxycodone Addiction

When you hear about America’s opioid addiction epidemic in the news, one drug reporters are talking about is oxycodone. A narcotic prescription painkiller, oxycodone is a synthetic product of the opium poppy, akin to heroin, morphine and other notoriously addictive opioids. Oxycodone causes a euphoric high, leading even innocent users with legal prescriptions to crave the narcotic. Over time, this use can turn into oxycodone addiction and abuse. Oxycodone addiction is a medical disorder and can be treated. The Recovery Village is an accredited rehabilitation facility with a highly experience staff ready to help you or your loved one take their life back from oxycodone addiction.
Oxycodone is a narcotic analgesic, or painkiller, that’s been around in American since the mid 1900s. It is a semi-synthetic opioid, meaning it is chemically manufactured from opium, a highly addictive drug derived from the sap of the opium poppy plant. Opioids are notoriously addictive substances because they trigger a rush of dopamine in the brain, causing a euphoric high.

Pharmaceutical-grade oxycodone is most well-known under the following brand-names:

  • OxyContin (oxycodone only)
  • Percodan (oxycodone and aspirin)
  • Percocet (oxycodone and acetaminophen)
  • Tylox (oxycodone and acetaminophen)

Endo International manufactures Percocet and Percodan. Purdue Pharma manufactures OxyContin. OxyContin was first introduced in 1996, and a spike in oxycodone addiction and abuse quickly followed. In 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved generic forms of slow release oxycodone.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime classified oxycodone as a dangerous drug and included it in The Dangerous Drugs Ordinance in 1960. In the United States, oxycodone is a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule II is the second most dangerous classification of drug. Drugs in this classification have limited medicinal value and pose a serious risk of abuse and addiction.

Abusing this drug can easily lead to oxycodone addiction. There are many physical and psychological consequences of oxycodone addiction, including the potential to fatally overdose. Oxycodone overdose can result in:

  • Cold and clammy skin
  • Low blood pressure
  • Low heart rate
  • Respiratory depression
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Coma
  • Death
Oxycodone is mainly used in oral medications. It comes in a variety of pill, tablet and capsule formats. OxyContin pills range from 10 – 80 mg of oxycodone. Other medications, such as Percocet, Tylox and Percodan, include 2.5 – 10 mg of oxycodone per dose, as those medications mix the drug with other ingredients.

These oral medications typically come in different colors and shapes to denote a variety of formulation strengths.

  • OxyContin
    • 10 mg OxyContin is a white, round pill with 10 debossed on the surface
    • 15 mg OxyContin is a gray, round pill with 15 debossed on the surface
    • 20 mg OxyContin is a pink, round pill with 20 debossed on the surface
    • 40 mg OxyContin is a yellow, round pill with 40 debossed on the surface
    • 60 mg OxyContin is a red, round pill with 60 debossed on the surface
    • 80 mg OxyContin is a green, round pill with 80 debossed on the surface
    • 160 mg OxyContin is a blue, oval pill with 160 debossed on the surface
  • Percocet
    • 2.5 mg Percocet is a pink, oval pill with 2.5 debossed on the surface
    • 5 mg Percocet is a blue, round pill with Percocet 5 debossed on the surface
    • 7.5 mg Percocet is an orange, oval pill with 7.5/325 debossed on the surface
    • 10 mg Percocet is a yellow, oval pill with 10/325 debossed on the surface
  • Percodan
    • 4.85 mg Percodan is a yellow, round pill with Percodan debossed on the surface
  • Tylox
    • 5 mg Tylox is a red capsule with Tylox printed on the surface
oxycodone addiction
Oxycodone is the main ingredient in many narcotic painkillers. Some of the most well-known oxycodone brand-names include OxyContin, OxyIR, OxyFast, Percocet, Percodan, Roxicet and Tylox.

Oxycodone is highly addictive and many who use the drug, even as prescribed by their doctor, still end up abusing the substance, which often results in oxycodone addiction. After their prescription runs out, most abusers have to turn to the streets to get more oxycodone. In these situations, addicts and drug dealers don’t use the term oxycodone to avoid police attention. Instead, they may use street names for oxycodone, such as:

  • Oxy
  • OC
  • Oxycotton
  • Oxy 80s
  • Killers
  • Kickers
  • Blue
  • Blue dynamite
  • Hillbilly heroin
  • Paulas
  • Percs
  • Percodoms
  • Roxi

Oxycodone addicts can also buy pills on the internet. The dark web is an online black market where abusers can shop for OxyContin, Percocet and other pills without risking meeting a stranger or getting caught by police. If you suspect a loved one is abusing oxycodone, you may consider searching their computer browser history for search terms including oxycodone and its popular street names.

Doctors prescribe oxycodone medications to patients facing moderate or severe pain in the short-term. For those facing long-term, chronic moderate or severe pain, doctors may prescribe slow release formulations. Some patients who receive oxycodone may be facing terminal illnesses such as cancer that involve a significant amount of chronic pain. Other times, a doctor may prescribe oxycodone following surgery or accident. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, American doctors dispensed 58.8 million oxycodone prescriptions in 2013. Because oxycodone is a controlled substance, you must have a prescription for it from a medical doctor in order to legally obtain the drug.
Oxycodone dosage varies based on the patient and their condition, their symptoms and which formulation of oxycodone is prescribed. OxyContin, the long-release form of oxycodone, comes in 5, 10, 15, 20, 30, 40, 60, 80 and 160 mg doses.

Percocet, a mix of oxycodone and acetaminophen, comes in 2.5, 5, 7.5 and 10 mg doses. In all of these formulations, the dose of acetaminophen stays constant at 325 mg. Tylox capsules combines a 5 mg dose of oxycodone with 500 mg of acetaminophen. Percodan pills combine a 4.85 mg dose of oxycodone with 325 mg of aspirin.

The typical adult doses for these drugs are:

  • One Tylox capsule every six hours, as needed
  • One Percodan tablet every six hours, as needed, with a maximum daily dose not to exceed 12 tablets
  • One or two Percocet tablets every six hours, as needed, with a maximum daily dose of six – 12 tablets, depending on the formulation
  • One OxyContin tablet every 12 hours, as needed
Another factor to consider when addressing the “What is oxycodone?” question is “oxycodone addiction.” Oxycodone is a highly addictive drug because, similar to other opiates and opioids, it affects a person’s brain chemistry. When an abuser takes oxycodone, the drug reaches the brain through the blood and causes a flood of artificial dopamine and endorphins, two neurotransmitters that produce feelings of happiness, pleasure, reward and satisfaction. When the drug wears off, this euphoria goes away, leaving users feeling depressed and low.

To regain the feeling, all a user has to do is consume oxycodone again. Over time, it will take more and more of the drug or experience the same high. This process is called tolerance. With continual use, tolerance will soon turn into dependence — when the body feels physically dependent on oxycodone, and when it doesn’t receive it, will go into withdrawal. Once a person experiences cravings for oxycodone in addition to their dependence to the drug, they have reached oxycodone addiction.

It’s difficult to say how long it takes to develop an oxycodone addiction. For some, under the right circumstances, all it may take is one use. For others, the process can take months.

Oxycodone addicts typically abuse the drug in three different ways — orally, intranasally and intravenously. Some may choose to swallow the pills whole, as most prescriptions are normally consumed. If an abuser is looking for a faster high, they may also chew oxycodone pills so the drug is absorbed into the bloodstream quicker. Along the same lines, some abusers crush oxycodone pills into a powder and snort it intranasally so the drugs reach the bloodstream quicker. Other users will dissolve this crushed oxycodone powder in water before putting it in a syringe and injecting themselves with the substance.

Drug paraphernalia associated with oxycodone abuse include pill bottles or pill packaging, straws or rolled up dollar bills, razor blades, mirrors or CD cases, syringes, spoons with tarnished bottoms and belts or long, thin pieces of rubber that can be used as tourniquets. If you suspect a loved one is abusing oxycodone, they may be hiding their pills in plain sight, such as in a medicine cabinet, orange pill bottles, mint tins, candy jars and other such places.

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, users have been abusing oxycodone since the early 1960s. It has the same potency as morphine, so not only do oxycodone addicts use the drug, but many heroin or methadone addicts also use the drug to help them stave off withdrawal.

Oxycodone addiction has been a source of opioid addiction in America since the 1960s, with a spike in popularity in the mid 1990s. Throughout this time, the U.S. government and oxycodone addiction researchers have tracked oxycodone addiction and abuse. Their research has revealed bothersome statistics, including:

  • Oxycodone products sell for an average price of $1 per milligram on the streets
  • In 1996, before OxyContin came out, the federal government recorded 49 oxycodone-related deaths. In 1999, the federal government recorded 262 oxycodone-related deaths
  • In 2013, 2 percent of eighth graders, 3.4 percent of 10th graders and 3.6 percent of 12th graders surveyed in the Monitoring The Future study said they abused OxyContin in the previous year
  • Of the 20.5 million Americans with addiction in 2015, 2 million were addicted to prescription narcotics including oxycodone
  • Opioid addiction and abuse led to 20,101 overdose deaths in 2015
  • Women are at higher risk of prescription opioid abuse and addiction than men
  • Four in five new heroin users started out misusing prescription painkillers

Is oxycodone addictive? Yes, but help is available to treat oxycodone addiction. Don’t become a statistic. No matter how long you’ve been struggling with oxycodone addiction, how many aspects of your life have been destroyed, or how many mistakes you’ve made, it’s never too early — or too late — to get help. Consider enrolling in oxycodone addiction treatment at The Recovery Village. Our dedicated treatment professionals are ready and excited to help you begin recovery and get your life back.

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Oxycodone Addiction
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Oxycodone Addiction was last modified: September 18th, 2017 by The Recovery Village