Opioid painkillers such as Oxycodone were introduced to the public in the 1990s under the premise that they would treat mild to severe chronic pain without leading to addiction. However, this did not turn out to be the case. As of 2019, opioid addiction is one of the most serious public health concerns facing our country, with more than 130 fatal opioid overdoses each day. In fact, The United States Department of Justice has said that an estimated 13 million Americans abuse opioids like Oxycodone.
Oxycodone is a potent narcotic painkiller (which is closely related to heroin) which is the primary ingredient in name brands pain medications such as Oxycontin, Roxicodone, and Percocet. It is a Schedule II controlled substance, meaning it does have some accepted medical use but it has a high potential for abuse and addiction. To this day, Oxycodone is one of The United States’ most abused medications. The drug is often prescribed to cancer patients or those in need of around-the-clock pain relief.
Oxycodone abuse often develops after a person has been prescribed the medication by a physician. It is also taken recreationally by the younger generation, with children as young as 12 using the drug. As is the case with many other addictive substances, a person can develop a tolerance to the drug after extended use and will eventually need to take higher and higher doses to feel the same effect. It is at this stage that a user can become addicted.
Prescription opioids are typically extended release, lasting about 12 hours. So, in order to experience the full effect of the drug at one time, users have been known to chew the pills, crush and snort them, take a higher amount than prescribed, and even inject them. This would be considered Oxycodone abuse.
Oxycodone Side Effects
Oxycodone gives a user a feeling of relaxation, pain relief, and euphoria. It is that high, that feeling of utter euphoria, that people get addicted to. However, the Oxycodone side effects are quite the opposite. These painful side effects include:
- Dry mouth
- Mood changes
- Sexual dysfunction
- Intense Anxiety
- Severe withdrawals
- Chest and stomach pain
Oxycodone withdrawal is a painful experience that affects users with a dependency on the drug. Restlessness, watery eyes, chills, muscle aches and pains, irritability, vomiting, and hypersomnia are all symptoms of Oxycodone withdrawal. Here is some information on how to handle withdrawals.
An Oxycodone overdose is all too common, especially when the drug is taken with alcohol. Oxycodone and other semi-synthetic opioid painkillers depress the central nervous system and can slow a person’s breathing until it stops. The more addicted a person is to the drug, the likelier they are to have an Oxycodone overdose. If you are seeing the first signs of an overdose, stay calm and help whoever is affected focus on their breathing. If they become unconscious, turn their head to the side to prevent them from choking. The signs of overdose include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Extreme sleepiness
- Low blood pressure
- Slowed heart rate
- Loss of consciousness
- Severe abdominal cramping
Naloxone can be a life-saving medication that can immediately reverse an opioid overdose by restoring a person’s normal respiratory functions. Many people who use Oxycodone, or who know someone who does, have a Naloxone Kit readily available in the event of an overdose. Although Oxycodone overdose doesn’t always lead to death, it can result in serious brain damage due to the lack of oxygen to the brain. If you believe someone is experiencing an Oxycodone overdose, call 911 immediately.
If you or others feel as though you have poor professional performance and judgment skills, erratic sleeping habits, financial issues due to drug use, interpersonal hardships, or are neglecting your responsibilities, you might be addicted to Oxycodone. Admitting that you are addicted can be frustrating and scary but with the right support group and treatment plan, a sober future is possible. Simply recognizing the signs of painkiller or Oxycodone abuse and addiction has the power to save a life. For information on opioid addiction treatment programs, contact Treatment Centers XL today.