Oxycodone: a Synthetic Opiate
Oxycodone is actually a semi-synthetic opiate made by modifying an organic chemical found in opium. It is the active ingredient in a number of prescribed medications for pain, such as Percocet, Percodan and Tylox.
OxyContin is another prescription form of oxycodone available in higher doses of strength, from 10mg up to 80mg in tablet form. OxyContin tablets are designed to be “time released” so that it’s effective over a period of time.
OxyContin has a high potential for abuse and hundreds of deaths from overdose are attributed to the drug every year. As an opiate, it is also highly addictive.
Oxycodone addiction has been a problem in the United States since the 1960s. In 1996, when OxyContin was manufactured and marketed, there was a sharp increase in the instances of abuse and addiction to the drug.
The abuse started on a regional basis and quickly became a national problem. Those who abuse the drug and become addicted usually crush the pills into a fine powder and then snort or inhale it, or chew the pills, or crush it and dissolve the powder into water to inject the solution. All three of these methods are used in order to negate the time release function of the drug resulting in immediate release of the entire potency of the drug and an effect of euphoria.
It is also frequently combined with alcohol to amplify the effect even further, although doing so has a high potential for a negative consequence and is sometimes fatal.
Recovering from an Addiction to Oxycodone
Addiction to oxycodone is not unlike addiction to many other drugs, such as alcohol or other opiates like heroin that elevate the levels of dopamine in the brain causing a heightened sense of pleasure.
Like those other drugs, prolonged use of oxycodone gradually damages the brain and changes how it functions. At this point an oxycodone addict cannot quit using the drug on his, or her, own without experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, nausea and vomiting, insomnia, fever, muscle pain and other flu-like symptoms.
Oxycodone addiction is treated much the same as other opiate addictions – potentially with a period of medication to step down from the addiction in stages and avoid the withdrawal and other symptoms, along with cognitive and other therapies. Here again, there may be a coexisting condition or previous condition that led the addict to begin using in the first place, such as an earlier traumatic event or a mental health disorder.
There are a wide variety of recovery options available and to is best to consult an expert in the field for guidance in finding one.