The Highs And Lows of Oxycontin: A guide to one of America’s most widely abused RX drugs
The abuse of Oxycontin is a problem that impacts individuals and families around the country. While the drug is a legal prescription for pain, the opioid compounds within the drug are addictive. Understanding the dangers of the drug is important when it is prescribed for medical use.
Facts About Oxycontin
Oxycontin is a prescription pain reliever that is designed to release medication throughout an extended period of time. In most cases, a single pill should last for about 12 hours when it is taken according to the directions of a medical professional. The drug is primarily given to cancer patients or individuals who are suffering with persistent pain that is rated at moderate to severe.
While the medication is useful when used appropriately, the high concentration of Oxycodone has resulted in drug abuse around the country. The prescription pill is often altered to release the drug into the system at a fast rate, which results in feelings of pleasure or relaxation. The street names for the drug primarily shorten the name, such as Oxy or O.C., but are also sometimes associated with heroin due to the opiate compounds.
Reasons for Abuse
Oxycontin is widely abused for recreational purposes. The reasons for the abuse relate to the accessibility, the amount of Oxycodone in each pill and the warning label on time-release medications.
Accessibility is a key part of illicit use. The United States exceeded $1 billion in sales of Oxycontin by 2001. The drug was found in many homes, which made it easy to find the prescription medication.
The amount of Oxycodone in the substance also contributed. Since the drug is designed to release small amounts of medication into the blood stream over several hours, it contained more Oxycodone than many other prescription pain relievers.
A label warning consumers not to chew or crush the pill provided the element of curiosity to the drug. The consumer warning provided a suggestion that caused individuals to alter the pill for a rapid release into the blood stream.
Impact of Abuse
Oxycontin is abused by altering the drug. Depending on the individual, it might be breathed in through the nose, taken orally as a powder or used with a needle after putting the substance in water. Regardless of how it is taken, the impact on the body is similar. Possible effects include:
- Changes to the ability to remember information
- Feelings of light headedness or dizzy sensations
- Pain in the stomach
- Upset stomach
- Feelings of tiredness
While the impact varies, individuals have died by taking too much Oxycontin. At least 120 deaths are associated with the drug, including popular celebrities and athletes. Among the deaths associated with Oxycontin overdose are Heath Ledger, Adrianne Nicole Martin and Derek Boogaard.
The use of prescription pain medications in an illegal fashion accounts for 22.5 percent of all illicit drug use. It is the most common drug used illegally after marijuana and is one of the most dangerous. It is possible to die after taking the drug, but help is available. Gaining professional help will provide an opportunity to fight addiction.