Used to treat moderate to severe pain associated with cancer, arthritis and other health conditions, OxyContin is a time-released form of oxycodone, and it’s listed under Schedule II of the Controlled Substances Act, which means that while it has medical value, it carries a high risk of addiction and dependence.
The Abuse of OxyContin
When taken exactly as prescribed by a physician, OxyContin is a safe and effective pain reliever. But when it’s abused, it can be very dangerous, and it may lead to addiction and dependence.
OxyContin, like other opiates, produces a euphoric effect, which is why it’s commonly abused. Prescription drug abuse is defined as using a prescription medication for non-medical purposes or taking higher doses of a drug than prescribed. It’s estimated that 2.1 million Americans suffer from substance use disorders related to opiate painkillers, and evidence suggests that non-medical abuse of opioids may contribute to heroin abuse.
OxyContin abuse has increased across all ethnic and economic demographics in recent years, and this may be partially due to the perceived safety of this and other opiate medications that are prescribed by a physician. But the fact is, opiate abuse is extremely risky, and all too often, it’s deadly.
Overdose of OxyContin
The most dangerous side effect associated with OxyContin abuse is the high risk of overdose. The number of unintentional overdose deaths associated with prescription opiates more than quadrupled between 1999 and 2012, and overdose is of particular concern with OxyContin abuse, since a single OxyContin tablet can contain as much oxycodone as 16 Percocet pills. The practice of crushing OxyContin tablets to foil the time-release mechanism can lead to far higher doses than are safe.
Signs of overdose include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Excessive sleepiness
- Clammy, cold skin
- Blue skin, fingernails and lips
- Loss of consciousness or coma
If you or someone you love is at risk of an opiate overdose, Evzio is a prescription hand-held naloxone injector that you can get from your physician. In the event of overdose, the naloxone is injected into the muscle to reverse the effects of the opiate and restore breathing while medical personnel are en route.
Other Health Effects of OxyContin
Another serious health effect of OxyContin abuse is hypoxia, which is a reduction in the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain due to depressed respiration caused by opiates. Hypoxia can cause both short-term and long-term neurological and psychological effects, including the inability to control emotions or make decisions. Chronic opiate abuse also affects hormonal balances, reduces overall immunity and causes organ damage.
OxyContin Dependence and Addiction
Opiates produce a high level of tolerance very quickly, which means that as the brain changes the way it functions to compensate for the presence of the drug, increasingly higher doses are needed to get the desired effects.
Over time, this can lead to physical dependence, which means that the brain now functions more normally when OxyContin is present than when it’s not. Even though you may want to quit using OxyContin or have tried to quit, you may be unable to do so if you have developed an addiction.
Addiction is a highly complex brain disease, and treating it typically requires intensive therapies to address the various psychological and behavioral issues underlying the addiction. Recovery programs that take a holistic approach to treatment are generally the most successful at helping people recover from an opiate addiction for the long-term.
OxyContin Detox and Withdrawal
Medical detox, which is offered through high-quality rehab programs, is essential for OxyContin withdrawal. This medically supervised detox process involves administering various medications as needed to help alleviate the intensity of withdrawal symptoms and shorten the duration of detox. Without medical intervention, most people who are dependent on opiates will go back to using them just to stop the discomfort.
Withdrawal symptoms of OxyContin include:
- Intense cravings
- Muscle aches
- Abdominal cramps
- Nausea and vomiting
There is Hope
An opiate addiction isn’t easy to beat, but it can be done with the help of a high-quality rehab program and adequate family and community support. If you’re addicted to opiates, you probably feel ill much of the time, and you may no longer even enjoy using. The sooner you seek help recovering from an opiate addiction, the sooner you can restore your relationships and your health and enjoy a vastly higher quality of life.
Give us a call or come visit our Inpatient Treatment Center In Los Angles California