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
  • Coma
  • Death

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:

  • 512s
  • Blue
  • Hillbilly Heroin
  • Kickers
  • Killers
  • O
  • OC
  • Ox
  • Oxy
  • Oxy 80s
  • Oxycotton
  • Percs
  • Roxy or Roxies

Oxycodone addiction is a serious public health crisis that affects millions of Americans. This powerful painkiller can prove highly addictive, even when taken as prescribed.

What Is Oxycodone?

Prescribed as a painkiller, oxycodone is a semi-synthetic product of the opium poppy, similar to heroin, morphine and other addictive opioids. When taken, oxycodone creates a euphoric high, leading even an innocent user with a legal prescription to end up potentially craving the narcotic. Over time, this use can turn into an oxycodone addiction.

Oxycodone is a potent and potentially dangerous opioid used to treat severe pain. It is important to use oxycodone responsibly and only as prescribed to avoid addiction and overdose.

How Oxycodone Works

Oxycodone works by binding to opioid receptors in the central nervous system. This changes the way the brain perceives pain, both in the spinal cord and throughout the brain. Oxycodone also triggers an emotional response that can help with pain relief, but this is also what makes it addictive.

When oxycodone is taken, it releases a flood of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is associated with pleasure and reward. This flood of dopamine makes the user feel good, and it can also lead to feelings of euphoria. Over time, the brain can become rewired to associate oxycodone with pleasure, which can lead to addiction.

Understanding Oxycodone Addiction

Rates of oxycodone abuse, addiction, and overdose continue to rise. Oxycodone addiction can have devastating consequences for the user and those close to them. While this article covers some difficult subject matter, if you or a loved one suffers from an oxycodone addiction, please remember there is always hope for recovery. Please consider reaching out to a treatment provider as soon as possible.

Is Oxycodone Addictive?

Oxycodone is a highly addictive drug. Even when taken as prescribed by a doctor, many people end up misusing it. Some people try to get more of the drug after their prescription ends. 

Oxycodone is a dangerous drug that was classified as such by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. In 1960, it was included in The Dangerous Drugs Ordinance. In the United States, oxycodone is classified as a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act. This means that it is considered to be the second most dangerous type of drug.

Signs of Oxycodone Addiction

When a person develops a dependence on oxycodone, their primary focus is on obtaining and using the drug. It is common to observe changes in their behavior, such as: 

  • Failing to report to school or work 
  • Financial issues resulting from the expense of purchasing oxycodone
  • Continued use of oxycodone despite negative effects

There are also physical signs of an oxycodone addiction that loved ones might be able to detect. These symptoms can include

  • Headaches
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dry mouth
  • Trouble breathing
  • Constipation

In severe cases, symptoms can include: 

  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting 
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures

When left unchecked, oxycodone dependence and addiction can also cause serious health problems such as liver failure, kidney failure, brain damage or heart failure. It’s important to address the issue as soon as warning signs appear to ensure a person’s health can be regained. If you’re not sure whether you or a loved one is struggling with oxycodone addiction, look for the warning signs and seek help promptly.

If you are uncertain whether you or a loved one is facing the possibility of an oxycodone addiction, The Recovery Village has a free tool to help you determine whether or not it may be time to reach out for help.

Oxycodone Misuse

Oxycodone is commonly misused in three ways: by mouth, through the nose, or by injection. When individuals addicted to oxy want a quicker and stronger high, they may chew the pills to get the drug into their bloodstream faster. Others crush the pills into a powder and snort it or dissolve it in water and inject themselves with the substance.

Injecting Oxycodone

Injecting oxycodone is a dangerous and harmful way to take the drug. When oxycodone is injected, it is absorbed directly into the bloodstream. The drug reaches the brain much quicker and in a higher concentration than if the drug were ingested orally. Along with the typical risks of abusing oxycodone, injecting oxycodone can lead to severe infections and damage to the veins.

Snorting Oxycodone

Snorting oxycodone is a dangerous and harmful way to take the drug. When oxycodone is snorted, it is absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the nasal passages. This bypasses the digestive system, which means that the drug reaches the brain much faster and in a higher concentration. Over time, snorting oxycodone can lead to nasal damage and other complications.

History of Oxycodone Misuse 

According to the United Nations, individuals have been misusing oxycodone since at least the early 1960s. It is 1.5 times stronger than 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 United States government and researchers studied oxycodone addiction and misuse. Their research revealed shocking statistics, including:

Oxycodone misuse has been a problem since the early 1960s, according to the United Nations. The drug is 1.5 times stronger than morphine, making it a popular choice for not only people addicted to oxycodone, but heroin and methadone as well. 

Oxycodone addiction has also been a significant contributor to the opioid crisis in the United States since the 1960s, with a peak in popularity in the mid-1990s. Researchers and the US government have studied oxycodone addiction and misuse, revealing alarming statistics:

  • Between 1999 and 2021, almost 280,000 Americans died from prescription opioids like oxycodone
  • Almost 17,000 Americans died in 2021 from a prescription opioid overdose like oxycodone
  • The rate of oxycodone overdose deaths decreased by 21% from 2016 to 2021
  • Along with fentanyl, methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin, oxycodone is one of the leading drugs linked to overdose deaths
  • Males are more likely than females to die from an oxycodone overdose as of 2021
  • Those between the ages of 35 and 64 are more likely to die from an oxycodone overdose than other age groups as of 2021

Oxycodone Overdose

An oxycodone overdose is a medical emergency and can be fatal. If a loved one takes oxycodone, it is important to be familiar with the symptoms of an oxycodone overdose. If an overdose takes place, you should call 911 and give naloxone (Narcan) if available. 

Oxycodone overdose can result in:

  • Cold and clammy skin
  • Low blood pressure
  • Low heart rate
  • Respiratory depression
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Coma
  • Death

Street Names for Oxycodone

The term “oxycodone” is avoided by individuals addicted to the drug and their dealers in order to steer clear of police attention. Instead, they may use street names for oxycodone, such as:

  • 512s
  • Blue
  • Hillbilly Heroin
  • Kickers
  • Killers
  • O
  • OC
  • Ox
  • Oxy
  • Oxy 80s
  • Oxycotton
  • Percs
  • Roxy or Roxies

Related Topic: Street Names for Drugs

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 Potentiators

A potentiator is a substance that increases the effects of another substance. Potentiators can be chemicals, drugs, or herbs. They work by increasing the amount of the drug that is available in the body, or by changing the way the drug works. Some common potentiators for opioids include:

  • Alcohol: Alcohol slows down the metabolism of opioids, which can lead to higher levels of the drug in the blood.
  • Grapefruit juice: Grapefruit juice contains compounds that can interfere with the way the body metabolizes opioids. This can also lead to higher levels of the drug in the blood.
  • Stimulants: Stimulants, such as cocaine or amphetamines, can increase the heart rate and blood pressure, which can put a strain on the body when combined with opioids.
  • Over-the-counter medications: Some over-the-counter medications, such as cough syrups and cold medicines, can also contain potentiators for opioids.

Oxycodone potentiators can be highly dangerous and even fatal. They can increase the risk of overdose and death. 

Mixing Oxycodone and Alcohol

Oxycodone and alcohol are both dangerous drugs, but when combined, they can be deadly. Both drugs slow down the central nervous system, and when they are taken together, this effect can be amplified. This can lead to a number of serious side effects, including:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Impaired thinking and judgment
  • Low blood pressure
  • Respiratory distress
  • Fainting
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Impaired breathing
  • Liver problems
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Coma
  • Death

The risks of combining oxycodone and alcohol are especially high for people who are already abusing either substance. 

Oxycodone Withdrawal and Detox

When a person becomes addicted to oxycodone, their brain and body become accustomed to the drug’s influence and effects. When the person stops taking oxycodone, they will experience withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms can be both physical and psychological. 

Some of the physical symptoms of oxycodone withdrawal include:

  • Goosebumps
  • Yawning
  • Itching
  • Tearing
  • Runny nose
  • Night sweats
  • Chills
  • Dizziness
  • Dilated pupils
  • Restlessness
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Body aches
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Muscle pain
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Hormone imbalance
  • High blood pressure

Some of the psychological symptoms of oxycodone withdrawal include:

  • Agitation
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Confusion
  • Cravings
  • Depersonalization
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Panic attacks
  • Suicidal thoughts

Will Your Insurance Cover The Cost of Treatment?

Oxycodone Withdrawal Timeline

The duration and severity of oxycodone withdrawal can vary depending on a number of factors, including the person’s age, gender, weight, length of use, frequency of use, typical dosage and other substances used.

In general, oxycodone withdrawal symptoms begin to appear within 12 hours after the last dose. 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, such as cravings, can persist for much longer.

Oxycodone Detox

Professional medical supervision is essential for a successful oxycodone detox. Without medical supervision, it is easy to relapse or experience serious withdrawal symptoms that could even be life-threatening.

One of the benefits of detoxing at a professional detox center is the availability of withdrawal medications. Medications can help make the withdrawal process more bearable and safe. The use of medications is decided on a case-by-case basis by physicians and nurses. The benefits of professional medical supervision during oxycodone detox include:

  • Reduced risk of relapse: When you detox under medical supervision, you are less likely to relapse because you have access to support and medications that can help you manage withdrawal symptoms.
  • Reduced risk of serious complications: Medical professionals can monitor your vital signs and provide treatment for any complications that may arise during detox.
  • Increased comfort: Medical professionals can provide medications and other interventions to help you manage withdrawal symptoms, making the process more comfortable.
  • Improved chances of long-term recovery: Detox is just the first step in the recovery process. With professional help, you can develop a plan for long-term recovery and avoid relapse.

Treatment for Oxycodone Addiction

Oxycodone rehab is a comprehensive treatment program that can help people overcome oxycodone addiction and achieve long-term recovery. The program typically includes a combination of individual and group therapy, medication management and other support services.

Inpatient Oxycodone Addiction Treatment

Inpatient rehab allows clients to live in a sober environment, build relationships with others in recovery, and receive 24/7 supervision. In addition, inpatient facilities, like those at The Recovery Village have access to a variety of amenities, such as medication management, dietary counseling and fitness classes. Here are some of the benefits of inpatient rehab:

  • Sober environment: Inpatient rehab provides a safe and supportive environment where clients can focus on their recovery. They are not exposed to the stressors and triggers of oxycodone addiction.
  • Community: Inpatient rehab allows clients to build relationships with others in recovery. This sense of community can be very helpful in the recovery process.
  • Supervision: Inpatient rehab provides 24/7 supervision, which can be helpful in case of a health emergency.
  • Amenities: Inpatient rehab offers a variety of amenities that can support the recovery process, such as medication management, dietary counseling and fitness classes.

An addictions counselor from The Recovery Village would be happy to speak with you today if you would like to explore inpatient treatment options for oxycodone addiction.

Outpatient Oxycodone Addiction Treatment

Outpatient rehab is a less intensive form of treatment than inpatient rehab. It involves the same components of inpatient rehab, such as individual and group therapy, medication management and alternative therapies. However, outpatients do not stay on campus at The Recovery Village. They return home at night, which allows them to maintain their everyday responsibilities.

Outpatient rehab is a good option for people who are ready to start their recovery journey but need more flexibility than inpatient rehab can offer, and who have some support from loved ones in their home environment. It is also a good option for people who have already completed inpatient rehab and want to continue their treatment with more flexibility and freedom. Here are some of the benefits of outpatient rehab:

  • Flexibility: Outpatient rehab offers more flexibility than inpatient rehab. Outpatients can maintain their everyday responsibilities, such as work, school, and family obligations.
  • Cost: Outpatient rehab is typically less expensive than inpatient rehab.
  • Continuity of care: Outpatient rehab can provide a smooth transition from inpatient rehab to living in the community.

Begin Your Recovery Today

If you or your loved one is struggling with addiction, The Recovery Village can help. Reach out to us today to begin living a substance-free life.

heather lomax
Editor – Heather Lomax
At Advanced Recovery Systems, Heather uses her experience by working closely with medical experts to produce helpful, accurate articles on the challenges of navigating substance use, recovery and mental health conditions. Read more
a woman wearing glasses and a white robe.
Medically Reviewed By – Dr. Jessica Pyhtila, PharmD
Dr. Jessica Pyhtila is a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist based in Baltimore, Maryland with practice sites in inpatient palliative care and outpatient primary care at the Department of Veteran Affairs. Read more
Read Next

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. “Dangerous Drugs Ordinance“>Dangerou[…]ugs Ordinance.” 1960. Accessed September 4, 2023. “Oxycodone Monograph for Professionals“>Oxycodon[…]Professionals.” April 19, 2023. September 4, 2023.

American Society of Addiction Medicine. “National Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder“>National[…] Use Disorder.” December 18, 2019. Accessed September 4, 2023.

American Academy of Family Physicians. “Opioid Conversion Table“>Opioid C[…]version Table.” Accessed September 4, 2023.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Opioid Overdose“>Opioid Overdose.” August 23, 2023. Accessed September 4, 2023.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Estimates of Drug Overdose Deaths Involving Fentanyl, Methamphetamine, Cocaine, Heroin, and Oxycodone: United States, 2021“>Estimate[…] States, 2021.” May 2023. Accessed September 4, 2023.

National Library of Medicine. “Opioid Overdose“>Opioid Overdose.” July 18, 2023. Accessed September 4, 2023.

Drug Enforcement Administration. “Drug Fact Sheet: Oxycodone“>Drug Fac[…]et: Oxycodone.” October 2022. Accessed September 4, 2023.

Koob, George F & Volkow, Nora D. “Neurobiology of addiction: a neurocircuitry analysis.“>Neurobio[…]try analysis.” Lancet Psychiatry, August 2016. Accessed November 11, 2023.

Medical Disclaimer

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.