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OxyContin belongs to a class of drugs called narcotic analgesics which means that it is a pain reliever. This drug is a prescription painkiller that is being used for moderate to high pain relief.

In most cases, this pain is associated with:

  • injuries,
  • bursitis,
  • dislocation,
  • fractures,
  • neuralgia,
  • arthritis,
  • lower back problems
  • cancer


The medication's active ingredient is called oxycodone. OxyContin is available in tablet form in 5 doses: 10, 20, 40, 80, and 160mg. As a pain medication, OxyContin is taken every 12 hours because the tablets contain a controlled, time-release formulation of the medication. Most pain medications must be taken every three to six hours. Oxycodone has a high abuse potential and the all Oxycodone products have been illicitly abused for the past 30 years. This has been so because it produces opiate-like effects and that’s why  it is sometimes used as a substitute for heroin.

Mechanism of work

The chemical structure of oxycodone is the methylether of oxymorphone: 3-Methyl-oxymorphone. OxyContin is an opiate agonist and these opiate agonists provide pain relief by acting on opioid receptors in the spinal cord, brain, and possibly in the tissues directly. Opioids, natural or synthetic classes of drugs that act like morphine, are the most effective pain relievers available today. Oxycodone is a central nervous system depressant. This means that it acts by stimulating the opioid receptors found in the central nervous system that activate responses ranging from analgesia-pain relief to respiratory depression to euphoria. The trouble is that people who take the drug repeatedly can develop a tolerance or resistance to the drug's effects, but overdose of oxycodone could be fatal in a person never exposed to oxycodone or another opioid. Good thing about it is that most individuals who are prescribed OxyContin will not become addicted, although they may become dependent on the drug and will experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop using it.

Medically prescribed Oxycontin effects

Short term effects

The most serious risk associated with the usage of OxyContin is respiratory depression, which is the same as with all other opioids. Common opioid side effects are

  • constipation
  • nausea
  • sedation
  • dizziness
  • vomiting
  • headache
  • dry mouth
  • sweating
  • weakness


Long term effects

It is proven that the long-term use can lead to physical dependence and addiction because the body adapts to the presence of the drug. This can be also confirmed with withdrawal symptoms that occur if the use is reduced or stopped. If taken exactly as prescribed, the opioids can be used to manage pain effectively.
Before they start consuming it, people should know that OxyContin may increase the effects of other drugs that cause drowsiness, including antidepressants, other antihistamines, pain relievers, anxiety medicines, seizure medicines, and muscle relaxants. Dangerous sedation, dizziness, or drowsiness may occur if OxyContin is taken with any of these medications.

Incidence of misuse

OxyContin abuse is becoming a wide spread problem in America. According to the 2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, approximately 2.8 million people aged 12 or older had used OxyContin non-medically at least once in their lifetime. This is a significant increase from the 1.9 million lifetime users in 2002. It has been reported that OxyContin sales exceeded $1 billion in the United States in the year 2000. No prescription drug in the last 20 years has been so widely abused after its release, the federal officials say.

Abuse of Oxycontin

Because of its high abuse potential, this drug has been misused for almost 30 years now. OxyContin abuse is spreading for a variety of reasons.

    *  The elevated opiate dosage makes it highly addictive.
    *  In contrast to drugs such as cocaine or heroin that can be mixed with other substances, with OxyContin an addict knows exactly how much of the drug he is getting. Since the dosage is consistent, it delivers a dependable high.
    * OxyContin is covered by most health insurance plans, so it is significantly cheaper than the street drugs.

Oxycodone is a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule II substances have a high potential for abuse, are currently accepted for medical use in the United States with severe restrictions, and may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.

Biochemical effects

OxyContin is simulating the action of chemicals in the brain to produce an artificial feeling of pleasure. OxyContin is able to produce pleasurable effects by acting like normal brain messenger chemicals, which produce positive feelings in response to signals from the brain.

How is it done?

OxyContin abusers either crush the tablet and ingest or snort it, or dilute it in water and inject it. Some abusers even chew it.

Why to crush a tablet?

Crushing or diluting the tablet disarms the timed-release action of the medication and causes a quick, powerful high-effect.

Common Terms Associated with OxyContin

Term

Definition

Term

Definition

40

OxyContin

Kicker

OxyContin

80

OxyContin

Oxy

OxyContin

Blue

OxyContin

Oxycotton

OxyContin

Doctor shopping

Obtaining pharmaceutical prescriptions from various doctors

Pill ladies

Female senior citizens who sell OxyContin

Hillbilly heroin

OxyContin

Pharming

Consuming a mix of prescription drug


    

Side effects of abusing Oxycontin

Gastrointestinal Tract

Oxycodone has many possible side effects and a lot of them are affecting gastrointestinal system. It can cause a reduction in motility associated with an increase in smooth muscle tone in the stomach and duodenum. This means that propulsive peristaltic waves in the colon are decreased, while tone may be increased to the point of spasm resulting in constipation.  

Cardiovascular System

Oxycodone may induce a release of histamine with associated peripheral vasodilatation. Manifestations of histamine release may include pruritus, flushing, red eyes, sweating, and orthostatic hypotension.

Oxycontin overdose

There are several overdose symptoms that can vary in intensity. The most common are:

    * slow breathing
    * seizures
    * dizziness
    * weakness
    * loss of consciousness
    * coma
    * confusion
    * tiredness
    * cold and clammy skin
    * small pupils
    * reduced vision
    * nausea
    * vomiting
    * clouding of mental functions

Oxycontin withdrawal

OxyContin addiction causes suffering if the addict does not get more OxyContin put into his system. Oxycontin withdrawal symptoms can be truly horrific. Symptoms of OxyContin withdrawal are:

    * perpetual tiredness
    * hot and cold sweats
    * heart palpitations
    * constant pain in joints and muscles
    * vomiting
    * nausea
    * uncontrollable coughing
    * diarrhea
    * insomnia
    * watery eyes
    * excessive yawning
    * depression

The increase in OxyContin addictions has resulted in the increase of criminal acts aimed at stealing OxyContin.


     

 

OxyContin Theft Incidents

DU Stolen

2000

791

260,688

2001

1,228

519,597

2002

1,479

587,168

2003

1,251

464,312

OxyContin detoxification

OxyContin detox is accomplished similarly to other drug detoxification and there is no standard protocol for facilitating patient's Oxycontin withdrawal symptoms.
Every person that comes in contact with the OxyContin addict must know few important facts. People suffering from a dependency to opiates are not the stereotypical drug addicts. This is because this disease affects people from all walks of life, regardless of social or economic status: athletes, stockbrokers, entertainers, homemakers, students, kids and older people.
There are a number of detoxification routes a person can take to overcome Oxycontin withdrawal symptoms.

Non medical treatment

The non-medical treatment is based on the cessation of the drug consumation which may be done with the help of a hospital or other patient support system.

Medical treatment

Medical Oxycontin withdrawal approaches may include decreasing Oxycontin doses rather than stopping. This is always done with Clonadine co-administration, or administration of Methadone - a drug commonly used to help heroin addicts withdrawal. Research has also shown that a patient suffering Oxycontin withdrawal symptoms might also benefit from behavior-oriented therapy.
The bottom line is that the goal of every detoxification program is for the individual to step down slowly off their dose of OxyContin until they no longer physically need to take it. Without this process, the withdrawal symptoms from OxyContin may be so severe that OxyContin detox may seem impossible to the person in question.

Perspective

OxyContin detox not only helps in easing the withdrawal symptoms experienced by the individual, but it also helps the OxyContin addiction recovery. The OxyContin detox is invaluable to the recovery because it helps in diminishing cravings for OxyContin as well as ridding the body of harmful toxins deposited during OxyContin use. There are many recovery centers, medical facilities, professional doctors, and licensed counselors to help a person to beat their OxyContin addiction once and for all. In these facilities patients are treated with the highest level of respect, dignity, confidentiality and compassion. Important thing is that there is no need to live in fear and run away from OxyContin withdrawal. The only downside to the traditional drug detox programs is the success rate of less than 10% after the first year. These statistics are even grimmer two years after the treatment.