Massachusetts Center for Addiction

Oxycontin Addiction and Abuse


Quick Summary

Oxycontin is a type of prescription painkiller that provides extended relief, lasting up to 12 hours. While it’s effective in alleviating pain, there’s a risk of addiction that comes with its use. Misusing Oxycontin can bring about immediate dangers such as overdose, and over the long term, it can lead to Oxycontin addiction, health problems, and negative effects on society.

Oxycontin is a prescription opioid painkiller that contains oxycodone as its main active ingredient. It was developed to provide long-lasting relief for patients with moderate to severe pain.

Oxycontin was created as an extended-release formulation. This allowed for a slower release of the medication into the bloodstream, providing pain relief for up to 12 hours. This feature was intended to improve the lives of patients who needed round-the-clock pain management.

Medical Uses for Oxycontin

As an opioid, Oxycontin can be a powerful and effective pain reliever. It works by binding to opioid receptors in your brain and nervous system. This reduces the perception of pain and provides a feeling of calm and relaxation.

When taken as prescribed, Oxycontin can provide significant relief for those suffering from chronic pain conditions or cancer-related pain. Doctors can also prescribe it for short-term pain management after surgeries or injuries.

The Dangers of Abuse and Misuse

The same properties that make Oxycontin an effective painkiller also contribute to its potential for addiction. When a person takes Oxycontin, especially in higher doses, the opioid can produce feelings of euphoria. This leads some people to misuse the medication for its pleasurable effects.

Progression Towards Oxycontin Addiction

Misusing Oxycontin can lead to addiction over time. This happens because the brain becomes dependent on the drug to experience pleasurable feelings. When the medication is no longer taken, individuals may experience cravings. They may also experience withdrawal symptoms during this time.

Common Withdrawal Symptoms

Oxycontin withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe, depending on the duration and intensity of use. Here’s a list of common withdrawal symptoms associated with Oxycontin, which is a potent opioid pain medication:

  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Sweating
  • Runny nose and teary eyes
  • Yawning
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dilated pupils
  • Goosebumps
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Increased blood pressure and heart rate
  • Chills and hot flashes

It’s essential to understand the dangers of misusing prescription opioids and the potential for severe consequences. This is especially true when combined with other substances like benzodiazepines.

With the right oversight and help, the risk of addiction can be lowered, making sure that those who really need the medication can use it safely for pain relief.

Oxycontin Overdose Risks

When you misuse Oxycontin, you put yourself at risk for several dangerous outcomes. One of the most immediate threats is the risk of overdose. Overdosing on opioids like Oxycontin can lead to respiratory failure, coma, or even death.

Your body may also develop a tolerance for the drug. This means you need increasing doses to feel the same effects. This increased consumption can contribute to liver damage, kidney impairment, and an increased risk of accidental overdose.

Recognizing an overdose and knowing the immediate steps to take can be the thin line between life and death in a situation involving Oxycontin misuse.

How to Know It’s an Overdose

Some common symptoms to look out for include:

  • Slow or shallow breathing may be a sign of respiratory depression, a severe side effect of Oxycontin. Slow or shallow breathing may be more prevalent when taken in high doses or combined with other substances.
  • If someone becomes unresponsive or difficult to awaken, it may indicate an overdose.
  • Severe nausea and vomiting can indicate the body struggles to process the opioid, signaling an overdose.

Due to increased tolerance, Oxycontin users may inadvertently take higher doses than necessary. This greatly increases the risk of an overdose. Additionally, the dangers are even more significant when combined with other substances like Xanax.

Lifesaving Actions to Take

Quick action may save the individual’s life if you suspect an overdose. Take the following steps:

  1. Call your local emergency number or 911 without hesitation. Never assume that the person will recover without medical assistance.
  2. If you can access it, administer naloxone, an overdose reversal drug. It works by blocking the opioid’s effects and could save a life. It is essential to follow the instructions provided with the naloxone kit. Learn more about naloxone here.
  3. Encourage the person to take deep breaths if they are conscious and capable of doing so. If they are unconscious or have slow, shallow breathing, lay them on their side and open their airway by tilting their head back.
  4. Remain by their side until help arrives, continually checking their breathing and responsiveness.

Knowing the signs of an overdose and the actions to take may save a life. Remain vigilant and educate yourself so you are prepared should a situation arise with Oxycontin addiction and overdose.

How Oxycontin Compares to Other Opioids

Oxycontin has been associated with higher addiction rates than many other opioids.

While all opioids have the potential for abuse and addiction, opioid addiction rates differ among specific drugs. For instance, more than 500,000 people in the United States are dependent on heroin, whereas millions worldwide struggle with prescription opioid addictions.

The Unique Risks of Oxycontin

One factor contributing to Oxycontin’s increased risk of addiction is its potency. It is formulated to provide a sustained release of oxycodone. This leads to a longer-lasting and more intense high when misused than other prescription opioids such as codeine or hydrocodone.

Oxycontin can also be crushed and snorted, injected, or swallowed in large amounts. This increases the risk of overdose and dependence. Switching from Oxycontin to other opioids like morphine, fentanyl, or heroin can further exacerbate these risks.

The First Step is Seeking Help

Recognizing an oxycontin addiction and admitting the need for help is the first step toward recovery. It’s important to find a treatment program that aligns with your specific needs, incorporating elements such as counseling, therapy, and medication-assisted treatment (MAT).

At the Massachusetts Center for Addiction, we specialize in providing customized treatment plans. Our approach combines medical, therapeutic, and holistic methods to offer effective care aimed at achieving long-term sobriety. Our team is committed to guiding and supporting patients through every stage of their recovery.

Why Choose the Massachusetts Center for Addiction?

When dealing with Oxycontin addiction, you need to find a treatment center that provides comprehensive and evidence-based care. The Massachusetts Center for Addiction offers just that.

At the Massachusetts Center for Addiction, you can trust that your recovery is in capable and caring hands. With their personalized approach, experienced staff, and comprehensive treatment options, you can confidently take steps towards a life free from Oxycontin addiction.

Contact our admissions team at 844-486-0671 today!