Oxycodone Addiction Treatment
Forms of Oxycodone
The medication oxycodone comes in tablet form and is sometimes combined with acetaminophen to make Percocet or Oxycet, combined with ibuprofen to make Combunox, or combined with aspirin to make Endodan and Percodan. It is also available in extended-release tablets called OxyContin. All of these forms of oxycodone are designed to provide a high level of pain relief, but the way this medication works on the brain makes it very addictive. Oxycodone binds to opioid receptors in the brain which are part of the reward center, controlling pleasure and mood. The result is that the brain is flooded with these feel-good chemicals and the person feels the rush of a high. This quickly leads to addiction, as the individual craves the feeling of euphoria.
Oxycodone Abuse and Side Effects
Those who abuse oxycodone do so by crushing tablets and sniffing the powder or dissolving it in water and injecting it right into the bloodstream. This leads to a rush of medication reaching the brain in a very short amount of time, instead of slowly being released into the body as it was designed to do.
Effects of oxycodone abuse:
Using a medication in ways other than prescribed is dangerous, and it can lead to overdose and death. This includes taking more of the medication than prescribed, taking it longer than prescribed, and snorting or injecting the medication that is designed to be a pill. When a person abuses oxycodone in these ways, they build up a tolerance to it and they begin to need more and more of the drug to feel the same effects. This puts the individual at greater risk for overdose because they are now taking large amounts of the drug. Others put themselves at greater risk for overdose because they combine oxycodone with other drugs and alcohol in the hopes of feeling a better high.
Oxycodone overdose is similar to other opioids such as heroin. Warning signs of oxycodone overdose include:
Overdose statistics involving oxycodone and other opioids:
- The majority of drug overdose deaths (66%) involve an opioid (CDC).
- In 2016, the number of overdose deaths involving opioids (including prescription drugs like oxycodone) was 5 times higher than in 1999 (CDC).
- In 2015 alone, almost 18,000 people died due to an overdose of opioid medications like oxycodone (National Institute on Drug Abuse).
- From 2000 to 2016, more than 600,000 people died from drug overdoses. (CDC).
- On average, 115 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose (CDC).
If a person overdoses on oxycodone, a medication called Naloxone is available that can reverse the overdose and save the person’s life. It is important that you get help immediately for a friend or loved one if you think they have overdosed.
Prevalence of Oxycodone Use and Abuse
One of the reasons this drug is abused so frequently is it is readily available. This medication is still being prescribed often because it is effective at managing pain. The number of prescriptions for opioids (like hydrocodone and oxycodone products) has escalated from around 76 million in 1991 to nearly 207 million in 2013, 53 million of which were for oxycodone alone, according to NIDA. Residents of the United States are the largest consumer of these medications, accounting for almost 100 percent of the world total for hydrocodone and 81 percent for oxycodone. More of the medication in circulation means it is easier for drug seekers to find it and use it, borrowing from family and friends, stealing from loved ones, and presenting with false symptoms at medical clinics to get more medication than is necessary.
Statistics of opioid abuse:
- The 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed that people aged 18-25 were the most likely to report ever having abused oxycodone (9.9%)compared to 6% of people 26 and older.
- The Monitoring the Future Survey, funded by NIDA, found that about 1 in 30 high school seniors has abused OxyContin at least once.
- Of the 20.5 million Americans 12 or older that had a substance use disorder in 2015, 2 million had a substance use disorder involving prescription pain relievers (SAMHSA).
Treatment for Oxycodone Addiction
Once a person is addicted, it is difficult to take control of their life again, but it is possible. First, the individual must withdraw from the substance and cleanse the body and mind. This should be done in a supervised setting, so the individual can get the supportive care they need, as well as encouragement to stay with the recovery program and get sober.
After detox, the individual needs to enroll in a rehab program that will help them understand the reasons they use and give them the tools to remain sober. Various therapy types, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Trauma Resolution Therapy, and others are used to identify problems with the individual’s thought processes and help them retrain their brain to deal with stress and conflict in a more constructive way. Participation in support groups provides ongoing encouragement and support to remain sober, even after clinical treatment is finished.
If you or someone you love is addicted to oxys or other pain relievers, it is important that you get help for the addiction. Call for help today and you and your family will soon be on the path to recovery.
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