OxyContin Facts: What is it?
OxyContin is a form of the drug oxycodone, a semi synthetic opioid analgesic. Oxycodone is made from the same drug that is also found in Percodan and Tylox. It is prescribed by doctors for those suffering from chronic and severe pain. This drug is one of the most abused prescription drugs in the United States because of the high levels of oxycodone it contains. OxyContin can contain between 10 and 160 milligrams of oxycodone in a timed-release tablet.
OxyContin Facts: How is it abused?
This drug is abused by a wide range of people. When it is prescribed by a doctor, OxyContin is to be taken twice a day. However, those who abuse the drug will ingest it in a multitude of ways. Some will chew the tablet up in their mouth, others crush the tablet and snort the drug, and some abusers will crush the tablet and dilute it in water to inject it. All of these methods of OxyContin abuse are to get around the drugs timed-release action. When the tablet is crushed, it releases the drug into the user’s system all at once instead of over a period of time. This can give the user a potentially fatal dose.
OxyContin Facts: What are its effects?
OxyContin taken under doctor’s care will help to relieve severe and chronic pain. However, when a person abuses the drug it produces a quick and powerful high similar to heroin. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that OxyContin abuse rates are higher than heroin abuse rates in some parts of the United States.
Like heroin and other opioids, OxyContin is a central nervous system depressant. An overdose can cause respiratory failure and death. OxyContin overdose symptoms include:
•Clouding of mental functions
•Cold and clammy skin
•Loss of consciousness
•Slow breathing (respiratory depression)
OxyContin Facts: Is it addictive?
OxyContin is highly addictive. Even pain patients who use the drug as prescribed find that over time they develop a dependency on the drug. They are advised by their doctors not to suddenly stop taking OxyContin, but rather to gradually reduce the dosage to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Abusers of the drug, who take higher than prescribed dosage, can develop a tolerance for OxyContin which may cause them to take ever-increasing larger amounts to achieve the same effect. They quickly become addicted to OxyContin both psychologically and physically. OxyContin withdrawal symptoms can begin as soon as six hours after the last dose and can last up to one week or more. People who have gone through OxyContin withdrawal compare the process to the intensity of heroin withdrawal. OxyContin withdrawal symptoms can include:
•Joints and muscles ache
•Nausea and vomiting
•Tiredness or fatigue