Oxycontin abuse has become an all too familiar phenomenon across the United States—an epidemic that has taken many families and communities by surprise, rising in some cases from legitimate prescription drug usage. Oxycontin, the brand name for oxycodone, is an opiate (narcotic) analgesic, or in layman’s terms, a medication for the relief of moderate to severe pain. Oxycontin works by altering the way in which the brain and central nervous system interpret pain signals. It is often prescribed for conditions requiring round-the-clock pain relief since it’s formulated with a coating allowing for controlled-release over an extended period of time.
Lacking the negative stigma that has accrued to heroin and morphine due to their long history of abuse and overdose deaths, OxyContin appeals to youth, novice drug abusers and to many people who wouldn’t consider trying a drug such as heroin. Partly this is due to the ease of administering Oxycontin—rather than “cooking” and injecting the drug with a needle, Oxycontin is simply taken orally or ground and snorted. Another factor in Oxycontin’s appeal is that, as a prescription medication, it’s available in regulated quantities and standards of purity. Treatment and oxycontin abuse solutions providers have to take on addictions that are fueled these by very high and very pure dosages of oxycodone.
Oxycontin abuse solutions providers indicate that misuse of Oxycontin began in Australia in the early 2000′s and concurrently in rural areas such as Appalachia by 2001. By 2007, a reported 51% of a national sample of injection drug users in Australia admitted to using it, with 27% injecting it. In the United States, the 2001 survey on drug use found that 957,000 people of the age of 12 and older had used Oxycontin non-medically at least once. These levels surged throughout the 2000′s, with many Oxycontin abusers obtaining the drug by way of doctor shopping, prescription fraud, and theft. Oxycontin abuse solutions providers report that for some users, Oxycontin served as a gateway drug to heroin—hooking the user on opiate intoxication even where heroin or morphine were unavailable, particularly in rural areas.
The initial packaging of Oxycontin may have encouraged its abuse, since the drug’s warning label explicitly instructed users not to crush the controlled-release tablet because of the potential for rapid release, leading many people to crush and snort the drug. Manufacturers have attempted to reformulate the drug in order to stem the tide of abuse, making the tablets more difficult to crush and adding other substances to enhance the drug’s controlled-release character. But Oxycontin abuse solutions providers indicate that there’s no sign of the new formulation being less subject to misuse, abuse, overdose, or addiction.
Side effects of Oxycontin use include constipation, nausea, drowsiness, sweating, headache, weakness, dry mouth, and vomiting. The single greatest risk associated with Oxycontin, and all opioid, use is respiratory depression. Taking a single large dose can result in respiratory depression that can be fatal. Symptoms of overdose also include seizures, dizziness, constricted pupils, loss of consciousness, coma, and of course death. It’s estimated that over 300 people in 31 states died of Oxycontin overdoses just between 2004 and 2006, but the real numbers are likely much higher. Oxycontin is without a doubt a highly dangerous drug, and Oxycontin abuse solutions are desperately needed for anyone struggling with a dependency on it.
Oxycontin abuse solutions begin with the process of withdrawal from the drug, which is similar in nature to withdrawal from other opiates. Even patients who use Oxycontin with a doctor’s approval for legitimate medical purposes are at risk for developing withdrawal symptoms when discontinuing usage abruptly. Symptoms include anxiety, panic attack, insomnia, muscle pain, fever and flu-like symptoms, muscle weakness, and nausea. Withdrawal can begin as quickly as 6 hours after the abuser discontinues usage, and the risk of relapse during these periods is high. It’s essential for addicts attempting to kick the habit to seek Oxycontin abuse solutions providers and a medically-supervised environment in which to undergo detoxification, which is usually both painful and ridden with temptations. The severity of symptoms can vary depending on the abuser’s degree of tolerance to the drug as well as on the last dosage consumed, but undergoing the start of an Oxycontin abuse solutions program is certainly never an easy process. Beyond the physical discomfort, recovering addicts experience psychological effects such as depression and even suicidal thoughts. But the most serious potential side effect of withdrawal, according to Oxycontin abuse solutions providers, is simply the risk of relapse. Withdrawal is not usually physiologically dangerous in and of itself. Continuation or recurrence of Oxycontin use, however, is dangerous, especially right after withdrawal, when the abuser’s body has lowered its tolerance to the drug and hence the risk of overdose is very high.
Oxycontin abuse solutions sometimes include not only detox, psychological therapy, and behavioral treatment, but also replacement drug therapies with semi-synthetic opiates such as buprenorphine (under brand names such as Suboxone and Subutex). The advantages and disadvantages of this system are highly debatable, however. Some Oxycontin abuse solutions providers consider drug replacement therapy only a continuation and prolongation of the problems of addiction. Replacing one drug with another can serve to encourage the psychic as well as physical habit-structures which convince the addict that he simply cannot live without drugs. In addition, these kinds of treatments are all too often undergone by way of out-patient treatment immediately following detox, meaning that the recovering addict is left with an incomplete understanding of the roots of his dependence and a substitute substance on which to be hooked.
Oxycontin abuse solutions that treat the underlying causes of addiction, by contrast, have been shown to have a much better chance of succeeding.
If you need help with OxyContin abuse, call 1-800-473-0930 to learn more about rehabs in Louisiana and how our program has helped addicts become drug free from every state in the U.S.