Facts About: OxyContin
What is OxyContin?
OxyContin is the brand name for a semi-synthetic opioid analgesic that contains oxycodone. Other names for this drug are Percoset, Percodan and Tylox. OxyContin is a legally prescribed narcotic used for the management of chronic pain. OxyContin is also known by street names such as; Oxy. O.C. Oxycotton, Oxy80 or “Killer.” OxyContin usually comes in pill form but may also be found in capsule or liquid form.
OxyContin tablets are usually crushed and swallowed or snorted but sometimes they are crushed, diluted with water and injected. Crushing or diluting the tablet releases the active ingredient of the medication and causes a powerful and quick high and an intense rush to the brain. This practice can lead to addiction and overdose by releasing too much of the active ingredient into the blood stream too quickly. Tolerance develops quickly to this drug so larger amounts must be taken to receive the same results. Users compare this feeling to taking heroin.
Short Term Effects
Though most people prescribed a narcotic analgesic, if taken properly will not develop an addiction. Abuse or overuse is the factor that develops into addiction. The most serious risk associated with OxyContin abuse is respiratory depression and should not be combined with alcohol, antihistamines, barbiturates or benzodiazepines. Other common side effects include; constipation, nausea, sedation, dizziness, vomiting, dry mouth, sweating and weakness. People who abuse the drug by crushing or removing the time-release coating will experience the euphoric effects for up to five hours.
Long Term Effects
Over time OxyContin produces a tolerance and a physical addiction causing the user to experience physical withdrawal symptoms when the drug is not available. The symptoms of OxyContin withdrawal include; restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, cold sweats and goose bumps and involuntary leg movements. Research has shown that the addiction to OxyContin is so strong that people will resort to crime to acquire it including robbing pharmacies and writing false prescriptions.
Determining OxyContin Dependence vs. Addiction
When taken as directed for pain or to a point where pain is controlled is neither abuse nor addiction. Abuse is described as taking the medication for the purpose of getting high or in any manner that greatly differs from the physician’s instruction. Addiction is characterized by; repeated , compulsive use of the substance despite adverse social, psychological and or physical dependence. Addiction is accompanied by a physical dependence, withdrawal syndrome and tolerance.
Addiction to OxyContin must be observed the same as addiction to any other opioid. Withdrawal or detox should be in a medically supervised environment to modify the symptoms and the user should then enter a long term rehabilitation facility where he or she can learn behavior modification and better choice skills.
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