Warning signs and symptoms that indicate the use and abuse of Oxycodone including observable behavioral and physical symptoms.

Oxycodone is a prescription pain medication intended for the treatment of a variety of types of pain. Oxycodone is an opioid analgesic which can treat moderate to severe pain that doesn’t respond to other forms of treatment. It’s a semi-synthetic form of an opioid, and it’s similar to other narcotics including heroin and morphine.

The history of oxycodone dates back to use before and also during World War I when it was developed as part of an effort to find non-addictive alternatives to drugs like morphine that were used as medical treatments.

Oxycodone is a substance that’s found in many brand name drugs; some of the most common include OxyContin, Percodan, and Percocet. These brand name drugs often include a combination of pain relievers. For example, Percodan is oxycodone and aspirin, while Percocet is oxycodone and acetaminophen.

When someone misuses oxycodone (assuming they are not dependent on the drug), they can experience a very strong high, and that high is why it has such a strong potential for abuse and dependency.

Research shows that people who are addicted to prescription opioids like oxycodone are also 40 times more likely to develop a problem with heroin abuse, which is startling for so many people to find out, particularly if they take oxycodone because it’s prescribed to them by a medical provider. Also, OxyContin is believed to be one of the most-abused opioids in America. Some of the reasons include the fact that it’s habit-forming, but also because it’s widely prescribed, making it very available on the streets.

Some of the street names of oxycodone are OC, Oxycotton, Kicker and Hillbilly Heroin.

With the potential dangers of abuse and the subsequent consequences that can occur, many people wonder how they will know if someone is on oxycodone or what the red flags of oxycodone abuse are.

What Is The Difference Between Oxycodone and Hydrocodone?

When you’re looking for signs someone is on oxycodone, you might also wonder the differences between this prescription drug and hydrocodone, since these are two commonly confused medications.

If someone is on oxycodone and abusing the drug, it can be more dangerous than hydrocodone. Both oxycodone and hydrocodone are Schedule II controlled substances. However, oxycodone is stronger, meaning it has a high potential for abuse. Both hydrocodone and oxycodone prescriptions must be given to a pharmacy in hard copy form. However, oxycodone is up to five times more effective at pain relief than hydrocodone.

How Common Is Oxycodone Abuse?

If you’re researching how to know if someone is on oxycodone or the common signs of using oxycodone, you’re not alone in having these questions. Research and studies show that oxycodone has more first-time abusers than either cocaine or marijuana, and there is use in all of the counties in the U.S.

The number of hospital visits related to oxycodone abuse and overdoses has also grown exponentially in recent years. The use of this drug along with other opioids is a top concern for medical professionals, lawmakers, law enforcement professionals, and individuals.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, there were around 1.9 million people who were dependent on prescription opioids in 2013, and the U.S. is the largest per capita consumer of oxycodone. The use of oxycodone is more common than a combination of methamphetamine and heroin.

Common Signs Someone Is Using Oxycodone

Common signs that someone is using oxycodone are the same signs of all types of opioid misuse. When someone is on oxycodone, there can be some pleasurable effects that come with it, which is why people use it recreationally. Some of these effects include a sense of euphoria, which is common with all opioids, as well as relaxation, possible sedation, a reduction in anxiety and pain relief.

On the other hand, as well as the positive side effects of oxycodone, there are also negative signs someone is on oxycodone that can occur. These non-desirable oxycodone side effects can include nausea and vomiting, dry mouth, dizziness, constipation, and loss of appetite. They can also include feelings of weakness, sweating, headache and mood changes. As people develop a tolerance for oxycodone, these symptoms will often become more pronounced.

Severe signs someone is on oxycodone and has potentially overdosed can include an irregular heart rate, chest pain, hives or rash, swelling, difficulty breathing or swallowing, extreme tiredness and lightheadedness. There is also the potential for seizures with the use of oxycodone.

Some of the most dangerous and potentially deadly side effects of being on oxycodone are related to the fact that it can slow down, or completely stop, breathing and overall respiration.

Oxycodone Physical and Psychological Dependence

When someone is on prescription drugs including oxycodone, there is a difference in physical or psychological dependence. With a physical dependence, people’s bodies begin to adjust to higher and higher levels of oxycodone being present. If you’re wondering how to tell if someone is on oxycodone and has a physical dependence, signs include taking larger doses and taking the drug more frequently, as well as experiencing withdrawal symptoms when they’re not able to take the drug.

Some of the signs someone is on oxycodone but going through symptoms of withdrawal include restlessness, watery eyes, achy muscles and joints, muscle weakness, and symptoms that are similar to having the flu.

Psychological dependence on oxycodone comes from the desire to feel the euphoric rush that initially happens when someone is on the drug, and people will continue to chase that high as they take higher doses.

Oxycodone Addiction Behaviors

Some of the first red flags that might have led you to wonder whether or not someone close to you is on oxycodone could involve changes in lifestyle or behavior. These behaviors aren’t specific to the use of oxycodone but occur with all types of drug addiction.

When someone is on oxycodone and addicted to the drug, they might steal or participate in other unethical or illegal behaviors to get more of the drug or let the drug take over their life to the point their performance in other areas such as school or work starts to decline.

With prescription drugs like oxycodone, there is also the likelihood that someone on this prescription drug could try to get more by providing false medical symptoms, visiting multiple doctors to receive more than one prescription or forging prescriptions.

Another sign someone is on oxycodone and addicted is their continuation of use, even when they face consequences, personally, financially, legally or medically.

If you or a loved one live with addiction or are using drugs recreationally and want to stop, The Recovery Village can help. Reach out to one of our representatives today to learn how you can start on your path to recovery.

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Editor – Camille Renzoni
Cami Renzoni is a creative writer and editor for The Recovery Village. As an advocate for behavioral health, Cami is certified in mental health first aid and encourages people who face substance use disorders to ask for the help they deserve. Read more
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Medically Reviewed By – Benjamin Caleb Williams, RN
Benjamin Caleb Williams is a board-certified Emergency Nurse with several years of clinical experience, including supervisory roles within the ICU and ER settings. Read more
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.