Although oxycodone addiction is the largest part of America’s opioid epidemic, The Recovery Village offers treatment programs that can help.
Oxycodone is a synthetic product of the opium poppy, similar to heroin, morphine and other addictive opioids. It is prescribed as a painkiller and creates a euphoric high, leading even an innocent user with a legal prescription to potentially crave the narcotic. Over time, this use can turn into an oxycodone addiction.
Oxycodone addiction is a medical condition and can be treated with the proper support and medical resources.
What Is Oxycodone?
Oxycodone is a narcotic analgesic or painkiller that’s been in America 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, which causes 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)
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime classified oxycodone as dangerous and included it in The Dangerous Drugs Ordinance in 1960. In the U.S., oxycodone is a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule II is the second most dangerous classification of drugs. Drugs in this classification have limited medicinal value and pose a serious risk of abuse and addiction.
Abusing oxycodone can easily lead to addiction. There are many physical and psychological consequences of oxycodone addiction, including the potential to fatally overdose. An oxycodone overdose can result in:
- Cold and clammy skin
- Low blood pressure
- Low heart rate
- Respiratory depression
- Respiratory arrest
Oxycodone is an oral medication. It comes in different pill, tablet, capsule and oral liquid 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, denoting many formulation strengths.
OxyContin Medication Types
- 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 Medication Types
- 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 Medication Types
- 4.85 mg Percodan is a yellow, round pill with Percodan debossed on the surface
Tylox Medication Types
- 5 mg Tylox is a red capsule with Tylox printed on the surface
Oxycodone is highly addictive, and many who use it, even as prescribed by their doctor, still abuse it. After their prescription runs out, some people illegally acquire more oxycodone. In these situations, people addicted to oxycodone and their drug dealers don’t use the term oxycodone to avoid police attention. Instead, they may use street names for oxycodone, such as:
- Hillbilly Heroin
- Oxy 80s
- Roxy or Roxies
Related Topic: Street Names for Drugs
Oxycodone is typically abused in three ways: orally, intranasally and intravenously:
- Oral abuse: People may swallow or chew oxycodone pills to absorb the drug into the bloodstream quicker.
- Intranasal abuse: People may crush oxycodone pills into a powder and snort it intranasally so the drugs reach the bloodstream quicker.
- Intravenous abuse: People may dissolve this oxycodone powder in water before putting it in a syringe and injecting themselves with the substance.
Drug paraphernalia can be associated with oxycodone misuse, including:
- Pill bottles
- Pill packaging
- Straws or rolled-up dollar bills
- Razor blades
- Mirrors or CDs
- Spoons with tarnished bottoms
- Belts or long, thin pieces of rubber that can be used as tourniquets.
If you suspect a loved one is misusing oxycodone, they may hide their pills in plain sight, such as in a medicine cabinet, orange pill bottles, mint tins, candy jars and other similar places.
Is Oxycodone Addictive the First Time?
Although the cycle of oxycodone addiction can begin after the first use, addiction is a complex phenomenon, and it takes longer than a single use to develop an addiction. The cycle of addiction typically includes the following steps:
- First use: When the reward center is triggered for the first time, leading the brain to want more oxycodone
- Abuse: When the person then starts repeatedly taking the drug for its pleasurable effects
- Tolerance: When the brain starts to become accustomed to the drug, requiring higher doses to achieve pleasurable effects
- Dependence: When the brain becomes used to the drug’s presence and requires it to function normally
- Addiction: When the brain is now reliant on the drug, causing the person to take it compulsively and making it hard to quit even if you want to
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 researchers studied oxycodone addiction and misuse. Their research revealed shocking statistics, including:
- Of the more than 79,000 opioid deaths in the U.S. from February 2022–January 2023, more than 11,000 were due to natural or semi-synthetic opioids like oxycodone.
- Of those aged 12 and older who misused prescription narcotics in 2021, more than 30% misused oxycodone.
- Of those aged 12 and older who took oxycodone in 2021, almost 13% took it to misuse it instead of for a legitimate reason.
- As of 2022, only 3.2% of 12th graders had misused a narcotic other than heroin.
Once an individual becomes addicted to oxycodone, their life revolves around finding and consuming the drug. Friends and family may start to notice problems like:
- Changes in behavior
- Not meeting responsibilities at work, school or home
- Interpersonal issues with friends, family or colleagues
- Quitting other activities that brought pleasure
- Financial strain
Oxycodone dosage varies based on the patient and their condition, 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 comes in 2.5, 5, 7.5 and 10 mg doses. The acetaminophen dose stays consistent at 325 mg in all of these formulations. Tylox capsules combine 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 6–12 tablets, depending on the formulation
- One OxyContin tablet every 12 hours, as needed
A higher oxycodone dose can mean a worsened addiction severity and a longer time to detox from oxycodone. Withdrawal can be very uncomfortable if not handled carefully, so seeking professional help to taper off the drug is important. This is the best way to prevent withdrawal symptoms from appearing quickly and severely.
Oxycodone Withdrawal & Detox
Get the assessment you’ve been wanting and learn if you qualify for our Oxycodone detox program and start your life freed from the grips of addiction.
Prescription opioids are among the most commonly misused drugs. Unfortunately, oxycodone is no exception to this rule. Because oxycodone is physically and psychologically addictive, people with an oxycodone use disorder can experience withdrawal symptoms once they stop taking it. The process of oxycodone detox can be dangerous without professional help and supervision.
At The Recovery Village, our trained medical staff helps patients undergo medical oxycodone detox as safely and comfortably as possible. If you or a loved one is ready to begin the recovery process, starting with medical detox at a reliable center like The Recovery Village can set you up for success in sobriety.
Signs and Symptoms of Oxycodone Withdrawal
Drug addiction involves a chemical change in the brain, during which time the brain and body become accustomed to a substance’s presence. Because the body is used to the substance’s presence, a person struggling with addiction will often feel intense physical and mental effects once they stop taking it. Many people addicted to oxycodone experience these effects — collectively called withdrawal — once they begin recovery.
Some of the physical signs of oxycodone withdrawal include:
- Abdominal cramps
- Body aches
- Dilated pupils
- Flu-like symptoms
- High blood pressure
- Hormone imbalance
- Muscle pain
- Night sweats
- Rapid heartbeat
- Runny nose
The psychological signs of oxycodone withdrawal include:
- Inability to concentrate
- Mood swings
- Panic attacks
- Suicidal thoughts
If experienced outside of a professional clinical setting, oxycodone withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening. Undergoing medical detox under the care of licensed, compassionate medical professionals is the best way to ensure your safety and start your recovery on the right foot.
Oxycodone Withdrawal Timeline
The oxycodone withdrawal timeline is how long it typically takes an individual to detox from oxycodone. While most oxycodone detox timelines last a similar amount of time, detox can be longer or shorter depending on many factors. These include age, gender, weight, length of use, frequency of use, typical dosage and other substances used.
Duration of Withdrawal
Oxycodone withdrawal symptoms typically appear 8–12 hours after an individual stops taking oxycodone. Once withdrawal symptoms set in, they can last anywhere from a few days to a week. In most cases, they peak within 72 hours and gradually subside. While the worst symptoms usually pass within a few weeks, less severe side effects, including cravings, persist for longer.
OxyContin Withdrawal Timeline and Symptom Durations
Certain effects from opioid detoxification can appear days into the process. These effects, which can happen as early as a day without OxyContin, include:
- Pupillary dilation
- Hot flashes or chills
- Hyperalgesia (e.g., aches and pains)
- GI distress (e.g., nausea, vomiting, diarrhea)
- Anxious and irritable emotional state
Despite the challenge faced during the OxyContin detox process, medical supervision and opioid replacement medications can help you or a loved one reach a healthier, opioid-free life.
OxyContin Medications and Detox
If someone misuses OxyContin, a medically supervised detoxification program may be the best first step toward recovery. Under medical supervision, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) can be prescribed to ease withdrawal symptoms. Some common MAT regimens include:
- Methadone: Helps relieve withdrawal symptoms and reduces cravings
- Buprenorphine: Assists in managing withdrawal and can shorten the length of detox
- Naltrexone: Can prevent cravings and help people avoid recurring use
Cold Turkey Oxycodone Withdrawal
Although the safest way to quit oxycodone is by tapering, some people might be tempted to quit cold turkey or cease oxycodone use all at once. Quitting cold turkey often increases the intensity of withdrawal symptoms, leading to an unbearable withdrawal experience and increasing the risk of setbacks. For this reason, it’s best to detox under medical supervision, where MAT can be prescribed if necessary.
Oxycodone Detox Options
Oxycodone detox options include at-home and medical detox, which has professional assistance. Although at-home detox can be tempting, it has some downsides:
- Harder to manage withdrawal symptoms without medical support
- Difficult to quickly manage withdrawal complications
- Challenging to prevent relapse if the person is tempted to quit detox
The key to a successful detox is professional medical supervision. Without professional care, it can be all too easy to begin taking oxycodone again to relieve withdrawal symptoms or for serious withdrawal symptoms to become life-threatening.
Medications for Oxycodone Withdrawal & Detox
One of the major benefits of medical detox is the availability of withdrawal medications and MAT. While MAT isn’t part of every person’s medical detox process, they help make the withdrawal process significantly more bearable when medically appropriate.
Some medical treatment facilities promote a form of OxyContin detox known as rapid or ultra-rapid detox. This strategy uses an opioid antagonist called naltrexone that induces withdrawal and puts the person to sleep. However, as tempting as this might sound, rapid detox is not recommended due to safety issues and an 80% risk of relapse.
How Does The Recovery Village Treat Oxycodone Addiction
After medical detox, many patients feel empowered, positive and ready to make their sobriety last. But without additional treatment, it can be difficult to commit to recovery over the long term. To support long-term recovery, The Recovery Village offers a continuum of care, including:
- Evaluation: Because every person struggling with addiction is unique, staff members first seek to understand each patient’s needs before creating a customized treatment plan.
- Individual counseling: During individual counseling, patients work with professional therapists to better understand the roots of their addictions, recognize and correct harmful thought patterns and build a new, fulfilling life outside of substance use.
- Group counseling: Group counseling allows patients to hear the experiences of peers who also struggle with oxycodone addiction. It also provides an opportunity to practice newly learned communication skills and coping mechanisms with a group of compassionate people.
- Family counseling: Family counseling helps patients and those who love them address past hurts, overcome harmful dynamics and work toward newfound closeness and acceptance.
- Healing amenities: Mind-body healing can include multiple activities like exercise, yoga, meditation and journaling. We offer access to these recreational amenities when deemed clinically appropriate.
- Medication management: Physicians at our centers can supplement therapeutic care with MAT when necessary.
- Aftercare planning: Aftercare resources help you maintain focus on your recovery over the long term. We help patients connect to local support in their communities, bolstering their chances of long-term recovery after formal care.
If you’re struggling with oxycodone addiction, hope is closer than you think. With locations across the country, The Recovery Village can connect you to the treatment you need to start your healing process. If you’d like more information about our programs or want to discuss your options, contact a Recovery Advocate. Don’t wait: call us today.
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The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.