What is OxyContin?

Oxycontin is the brand name or generic drug for Oxycodone, which is a pain reliever from the drug class of opioids. Other class of opioid drugs includes heroine and morphine. While oxycodone offers short term relief from pain, Oxycontin is formulated to give pain-relief for an extended period of time. This is possible due to the formulation of the drug, which is made with sustained-releasing coating to offer a controlled amount of Oxycontin over time. Oxycontin is only available by prescription from a physician and is available in various doses in the tablet form.


How to determine if someone in addicted to OxyContin. As posted by: Addiction Blog

Oxycontin was originally approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1995. Since its introduction to the US markets in 1996, the formulation of Oxycontin has been restructured with additional binders to prevent the crushing of the tablet by abusers for injection or insufflations. These newer tablets are more commonly prescribed by physicians and are identified with the stamp of ‘OP’. Men and women who are addicted to Oxycontin commonly abuse it due to the similar effects to heroin, such as an induced euphoric feeling (“rush”). Oxycontin can be easier to obtain compared to heroin, and abusers will typically destroy the time-released coating on the tablet to achieve a rapid release of the medication.

An addiction to Oxycontin can be detrimental as it can causes serious side effects, both short and long term. If you or a loved one is struggling with an Oxycontin addiction, it is important to seek professional help to break this life-threatening cycle.

OxyContin Abuse Statistics

According to the Drug Patent Expirations and Intelligence, Oxycontin was the best-selling non-generic narcotic pain relieve in the United States in 2001, and sales for Oxycontin totaled $2.5 billion in 2008 [1]. Because of the lack of regulation of the drug and the accessibility of Oxycontin, individuals of a wide-range of ages abuse this drug. Other statistics that reveal more about the drug Oxycontin are as follows:

  • According to the American Journal of Psychiatry, at least five percent of all drug addicts have used Oxycontin before abusing a more potent narcotic [2]. This demonstrates how Oxycontin is typically used as a “Gateway Drug”, meaning it opens the way for more serious drug abuse.
  • The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that 16 million Americans over the age of 12 have used some form of prescription medication, such as Oxycontin, for a non-medical purpose at least once in the past year [3]. This reveals the danger of uncontrolled prescriptions drugs within society.

Causes of OxyContin Addiction

An addiction to Oxycontin could be induced by numerous factors. While superficially, it may appear that an Oxycontin addiction progressed out of a simple need for the drug, there are often major underlying concerns related to this substance abuse. Examples of this could be biological, social, or psychological. There may be some genetic factors that are linked to Oxycontin abuse, and this would be a biological factor for an addiction to Oxycontin. An Oxycontin addiction might also be an attempt to “numb” emotional pain caused from trauma, such as mental or physical abuse, or feelings of depression or anxiety. In these instances, these would be psychological causes of an addiction to Oxycontin. Finally, societal or environmental situations such as family with prescriptions, or poverty can increase the likelihood that an individual would be susceptible to abusing Oxycontin. An addiction to Oxycontin can be instigated by one or more of these factors and can also be co-occurring with other addictions or disorders, such as an eating disorder or alcohol abuse. The characteristics of are similar in nature; therefore, it is common to find that an individual who struggles with an Oxycontin addiction may abuse other substances as well.

Signs and Symptoms of OxyContin Addiction

Perhaps you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to Oxycontin. If you are unsure that you are addicted, it might be helpful to look for these signs and symptoms of abuse. While not all individuals display the same signs, you might notice one or more of the below symptoms in the case of an addiction to Oxycontin:

  • Repetitive thoughts about using Oxycontin
  • Agitated or restless behaviors
  • Experience of “phantom pains” when drug is not in use
  • Secretly storing or hiding the drug to avoid disclosure
  • Excessive Oxycontin prescriptions
  • Increased isolation or withdrawal to use the drug in secret

Look for these signs and symptoms to identify if you or a loved one is dealing with an Oxycontin addiction.

OxyContin Effects

Addiction to Oxycontin can cause many short and long term consequences on the abuser. These effects can influence a man or woman physically, psychologically, and socially. The following are ways that Oxycontin can impact the many facets of an abuser’s life:

Physical Effects – The abuse of the drug Oxycontin can physically compromise the normal behaviors of the body by interfering with various mechanisms. Here are some negative physical consequences resulting from using the drug Oxycontin:

  • Flushing
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness or lack of stability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Compromised mental function
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Liver damage
  • Death due to accidental overdose or depressed breathing rates

Psychological Effects – Abusing Oxycontin can also have negative impacts on mental health. Here are some negative psychological and mental effects from abusing Oxycontin:

  • Altered perception of reality
  • Increased anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Personality shifts
  • Low self-esteem, negative body image
  • Feelings of rage, bursts of anger
  • Confusion, disorientation
  • Paranoia

Social Effects – The abuse of Oxycontin can result in multiple negative social effects. These can include the following:

  • Withdrawal, isolation from friends and family
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Damaged relationships with loved ones
  • Division or brokenness within a family unit

OxyContin Withdrawal

If a man or woman addicted to Oxycontin should stop taking the drug suddenly, dangerous withdrawal symptoms could occur as the body has become dependent on it. The following are some of the symptoms that might be experienced by an oxycodone abuser should the drug be suspended:

  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Panic Attacks
  • Muscle Pain
  • Flu-like Symptoms
  • Seizures/Tremors
  • Depression

Any individual who has become reliant on Oxycontin is at risk for relapse once withdrawn from the drug. This means that there could be reoccurring use of the drug after a period of abstinence from it and can be common for men and women trying to “stay clean” from Oxycontin for the first time. Having the support of an Oxycontin treatment facility can help in relapse prevention and create long term success for recovery.

OxyContin Treatment and Help

An Oxycontin addiction is an injurious habit that can result in many damaging consequences. If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to Oxycontin, the first step towards overcoming this is by identifying that there is a problem. Having the help from a professional Oxycontin rehab center and team is necessary to coping with the complications that may have resulted from Oxycontin abuse. An addiction to Oxycontin can be overwhelming and devastating to deal with, but fortunately, you do not have to be alone. Getting the help you need with allow for the best care and treatment, and ultimately, give you the tools you need to overcome this addiction.

Other Articles About Oxycontin

  • This narcotic pain reliever is relatively new on the market compared to other prescription drugs, as it was made available to consumers in 1995. However, the abuse of this medication is rapidly increasing across the nation, with more individuals finding themselves addicted to this prescription drug compared to other medications that are available today.


[1]: “Details for Oxycontin”. http://www.Drugpatentwatch.com
[2]: Carise D., et al. Prescription OxyContin abuse among patients entering addiction treatment. Am J Psychiatry 2007 Nov; 164 (11): 1750-6.
[3]: “Prescription Drugs”. http://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/prescription-drugs

  • OxyContin was considered a new solution for those suffering from chronic and/or severe pain. It offered time released relief from constantly hurting, but OxyContin is now one of the most abused prescription drugs available. It provides a high similar to Heroin when crushed and snorted or injected. The question arises as to why those suffering from consistent and agonizing pain must pay the price because others abuse OxyContin?


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