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Oxycontin Addiction and Dependence

Understanding Oxycontin addiction and dependence is a critical element in helping people break free from this powerful drug.  Oxycontin was developed to be used for people who suffer from terminal cancer and chronic pain. Acting as a pain relief medication, it is designed to be released over time. It contains the same active ingredients as Percocet and Percodan and comes from the opium alkaloid which means that it dissolves in water.

Called hillbilly heroin, kicker, and Oxy, the drug acts on opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord. It also depresses the central nervous system.

As a time-release capsule, the drug is set up to spread out in the system over a 12-hour period. However, users seeking a fast rush circumvent the time-release by crushing the tablet to be snorted, chewed or dissolved in water to be injected it like heroin.

The Effects of OxyContin

Because the opiate dosage is elevated, the drug is highly addictive. It provides a dependable high because the dosage is known, unlike heroin, cocaine or other drugs that are usually mixed with unknown substances. Regarding costs, it is covered by the majority of health insurance plans, so it is inexpensive.

The high has been reported to be very much like heroin but more intense. Initially, the user feels euphoric, relaxed, calm and very stoned.

However, the side effects are grim, respiratory depression being one of them. This occurs most frequently in very sick or elderly patients and in non-tolerant patients following large initial doses. Other side effects include nausea, dizziness, headaches, sweating, dry mouth and vomiting.

It also negatively impacts the cardiovascular system and gastrointestinal tract.

OxyContin Addiction and Withdrawals

When an individual is exposed to OxyContin for a period of time (either legally or illegally), at a high enough dose, the body of the user adapts. S/he develops a tolerance for the drug which means that higher doses are needed to re-experience the original effect of it.

It’s tough to resist because the drug imitates the action of brain chemicals that send pleasurable messages to the brain’s reward center. The result is an artificial feeling of pleasure.

Withdrawal from the drug is similar to a heroin withdrawal except worse. The symptoms are more intense and last longer. They include:

  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Hot and cold sweats
  • Diarrhea
  • Pain in the joints and muscles

The safest way to rid the body of OxyContin is to get professional help from a reputable drug treatment center. The preferred method is to gradually reduce the OxyContin dose until the physical need for it has disappeared. The idea is to completely rid the body of the toxins.

Breaking an addiction to OxyContin may be more intense than getting off of heroin. That’s why it’s important to counsel with the professionals at Recovery First. Our empathetic, experienced and knowledgeable addiction professionals will help you develop a drug treatment program that works for you and your family.  Call us right now to find out for yourself, or you can check your insurance for drug rehab by using the form to the right of this page.  Take action now, before it’s too late.

About The Contributor
The editorial staff of Recovery First is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands... Read More