What Is Oxycodone?
Oxycodone is an opiate pain reliever that’s only available by prescription.
It’s prescribed to patients who suffer from medical and health-related pain. Even though oxycodone is a commonly prescribed painkiller, many people believe it’s unsafe.
Unfortunately, oxycodone has a high risk of addiction.
This not only applies to pain sufferers but also those who recreationally use oxycodone. Those who wish to recover from their oxycodone addiction must detox to prevent withdrawal symptoms.
Oxycodone is a powerful opiate painkiller. It’s either prescribed in its generic form or through popular name brands such as OxyContin and Percocet. As an opiate painkiller, oxycodone is commonly compared to dangerous drugs such as heroin.
Opiates work by reducing nerve activity. This results in pain. Opiates can diminish your pain by binding to multiple receptors in the brain and throughout your nervous system.
The dangers of opiates come from the risk of tolerance. In order for the medication to work, you need to continue increasing your dose. This leads to addiction.
Fortunately, doctors can prescribe a specific dosage that prevents addiction. But this doesn’t mean patients can’t get hooked and start buying their medication illegally.
How Is It Taken?
When used as prescribed, oxycodone is taken orally.
The average daily dose is 105 mg per day. For those with moderate or temporary pain, such as a sprained ankle, the dosage is only 10 to 30 mg every four hours. For severe pain, the dosage can be as high as 640 mg per day.
Whether or not the prescription increases depends on the pain the patient is experiencing. If the minimum dose isn’t working, doctors will increase their dosage.
For slight or temporary pain, the doctor will increase a moderate dose and will ween you off of the medication to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
Taking oxycodone recreationally is a whole different situation. The user doesn’t have pain they want to decrease; rather, they want to “get high.” Opiates enhance euphoria, similar to heroin.
The recreational user will administer oxycodone in a way that gives them the most euphoria.
Recreational users may also swallow the tablet. But to get the best high, they will crush and snort the tablet or dilute the crushed tablet in water and inject it into their veins.
Who Takes It?
Oxycodone users can be separated into two categories.
- Patients who suffer from pain
- Recreational users
Pain patients only try oxycodone because of their prescription. Many users never even engaged in drug use prior to using oxycodone. But this doesn’t mean they’re not at risk for addiction.
Their tolerance can increase, forcing doctors to increase their prescription.
Not all doctors are willing to increase a prescription due to addiction. That’s when the user will start buying oxycodone on the streets.
The other oxycodone user group includes those who use oxycodone recreationally to get high.
They will also buy their pills from the street because they don’t have a medical condition to qualify for a prescription. They may also take pills from a family member or a friend who has an oxycodone prescription.
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A Brief History of Oxycodone
Oxycodone is one of the oldest opiates developed.
The beginnings of oxycodone trace back to Germany in 1916. During this time, there was an epidemic of heroin and morphine addiction. The goal was to make a pain reliever that was a lot safer than morphine and heroin.
From here, oxycodone came to the U.S. in 1939.
But oxycodone didn’t become what it is today until 1996 when Purdue Pharma started manufacturing the commonly prescribed medication OxyContin. In 2001, OxyContin became the bestselling opiate in the United States.
From here, opiate drug abuse and our current painkiller addiction epidemic began.
Drug dealers got their hands on the pills and sold them illegally for a larger profit. Big pharma started overprescribing these medications, even when very little was known about the side effects, dangerous, and addiction risk.
That’s why the lawsuits came in around 2007, limiting who gets prescribed this opiate.
Consequences of Oxycodone Abuse
Oxycodone effects can be separated into two categories, the side effects and how the user feels. Here’s a closer look at both.
Short-Term Health Effects
Oxycodone comes with many unwanted side effects.
- Skin rash
- Dark urine
- Bad breath
- Black stools
- A headache
- Stomach ache
- Loss of appetite
- Vomiting blood
- Tiredness and weakness
- Yellowing of the eyes or skin
But these aren’t the only dangers of taking Oxycodone.
Long-Term Health Effects
The biggest danger to oxycodone is the risk of addiction and dependency.
Oxycodone can also cause long-term physical damage. Oxycodone users are most at-risk to develop kidney and liver failure. The risk increases if you use oxycodone with alcohol.
Overdosing is a risk many oxycodone addicts face. Those who overdose on oxycodone are unconscious, their skin and lips turn blue, have a low pulse, they feel cold and are breathing slowly.
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Using Oxycodone With Other Drugs
Recreational users are the primary group who uses oxycodone with other drugs. Combining oxycodone with other drugs can be extremely dangerous and lead too overdose and death.
Which Drugs Are Commonly Used With Oxycodone?
Oxycodone is commonly used by younger people at parties. They drink alcohol and take oxycodone. They could also use oxycodone with other prescription drugs, such as benzodiazepines, or other hard drugs such as cocaine.
Treating Oxycodone Addiction
Oxycodone abuse is on the rise. Young people partying aren’t the only group at risk for addiction. Those who suffer from pain can get hooked on their prescription, increasing their tolerance and forcing them to take larger doses.
Are you addicted to oxycodone? Recovery isn’t easy, but it’s necessary. Fortunately, there are a wide variety of treatment options.
If you’re addicted to oxycodone and need help, take a look at our painkiller information on addiction treatment services.