OxyContin is the brand name of a prescription drug that is used for the management of moderate to severe pain. Used in the treatment of pain caused by injuries, cancer and arthritis, OxyContin contains a timed-release formula of the narcotic analgesic oxycodone which relieves a sufferer from chronic pain for up to 12 hours.
Unfortunately, OxyContin has been abused increasingly ever since it was introduced to the United States in 1996. The oxycodone content in the drug is one reason why it has the high potential for abuse, especially when the doctor’s orders for taking it are not followed. For example, many abusers want to get the euphoric rush felt by heroin users by experiencing the narcotic effects of OxyContin in one go by crushing the tablet and snorting or injecting it instead of swallowing it whole. Those who are genetically predisposed to addiction as evidenced by a family member having experienced addiction are more vulnerable to OxyContin abuse.
The signs of oxycodone abuse can be difficult to determine at first but early signs could show deterioration in work or school performance. The physician ordering the medication for pain management in a patient must be watchful for signs that could signify abuse, such as reporting a lost prescription or refusing referrals to specialists. Family members should also be watchful for signs of alcoholism or drug use as those who are abusing oxycodone may also be more prone to it.
The problem with OxyContin abuse is that it can potentially be life-threatening. Someone addicted to the substance want to get more of it not only because it makes them forget the chronic pain they have been experiencing but because it also induces feelings of euphoria and lightheadedness. However, it can also bring about other side effects like drowsiness, itching, nausea and vomiting, low blood pressure, headache, dry mouth and constipation. When taken together with alcohol or with other drugs like benzodiazepines, OxyContin abuse can precipitate respiratory failure.
Someone who is suffering from OxyContin addiction can experience withdrawal symptoms like agitation, restlessness, sweating, muscle and bone pain, diarrhea, vomiting and nausea, depression and chills. Thus, the quest to seek relief by seeking prescription from other doctors or obtaining it illegally on the street begins. Those who end up with OxyContin addiction actually start by faithfully following their doctor’s prescription. However, it’s easy to build tolerance to OxyContin so that a 20 milligram dose doesn’t anymore suffice.
It is a challenge to get off oxycodone addiction on your own but with prompt intervention it is possible to recover from it. Drug rehabilitation programs usually start with some form of detoxification. Some utilize prescription drugs to aid the addict in coping with the withdrawal symptoms but others don’t. In and of itself, detoxification is not the cure to OxyContin abuse. In order to wean the addict away from dependence to oxycodone, it is important to go through the entire spectrum of treatment which includes counseling, therapy and aftercare.
Family members should not hesitate to intervene in the lives of their loved ones who are addicted to OxyContin. Some don’t out of fear that their family member will feel that they are interfering with their lives. However, your interference is what could save their lives. They will be thankful you did.