OxyContin is a pain relieving drug that is prescribed for the relief of moderate to severe pain. However, OxyContin use has the potential for abuse and addiction. Even though OxyContin is man-made, it is derived from the opium poppy and there is a forty percent chance that OxyContin users will develop a heroin addiction as a result of the use of this pain reliever.
Oxycodone is an opiate receptor agonist; this means that the use of Oxycodone increases the dopamine activity in certain areas of the brain. Dopamine is associated with the rewards section of the brain, meaning that users crave the feeling that Oxycodone gives them and look for ways to repeat that feeling. Users of Oxycodone develop a tolerance for the drug, which means that previously prescribed amounts no longer give them the desired effect; this requires them to take more than the prescribed dosage or take it without a prescription. These are signs of an addiction.
Because the symptoms of Oxycodone withdrawal are quite intense, it is beneficial for the Oxycodone user to seek professional treatment for their rehabilitation. During detox of the drug, it is recommended that the person seek a professional to supervise their detox period. Detoxicification is the attempt to remove the Oxycodone from the person’s body. This is usually best done in an inpatient setting so that medical professionals can monitor the patient and keep them safe and comfortable. During this detox period, the medical provider may prescribe medication to reduce the negative side effects of the process.
Once detox is completed, the patient is then referred to various treatment options, which can include:
- Residential rehabilitation
- Outpatient treatment
- A mental health/or dual diagnosis treatment
A residential rehabilitation therapy involves the patient living in a setting that involves constant round the clock treatment. The length of time a patient is in a treatment program can vary from several weeks to months. The length is dependent upon how severe their addiction is.
Outpatient therapy is less intense than the residential therapy; however, it does require the patient to complete counselling and therapy sessions to discuss how their recovery process is coming along and ways in which the patient can maintain their sobriety.
During the past twenty years the use of Oxycodone has been increasing. The Drug Enforcement Administration has compiled the following facts regarding the use and abuse of Oxycodone and other opiates:
- In 2013 there were nearly 60 million prescriptions written for Oxycodone;
- Sixteen million people reported abusing Oxycodone at some point in their lifetimes in 2012; in comparison to the prior year, this number has increase by a million people.
- Oxycodone was responsible for 150,000 visits to the emergency room during the year 2011.
- Law enforcement reported that there were more Oxycodone related law infractions during 2009 than any other prescription drug.
Because Oxycodone became an easily accessible drug that was available in the family medicine cabinet, it became the “go-to” drug for teens to use for a quick high. Oxycodone addiction was not only affecting adults, but it was also getting teenagers addicted. For this reason, it is very important for parents to discuss the dangers of Oxycodone and keep all painkillers out of the reach of children.