Oxycodone Addiction, Statistics, Abuse, Symptoms & Side Effects

What is Oxycodone?

Oxycodone is a drug that is typically used to relieve moderate to severe pain. Belonging to the narcotic class of medications, Oxycodone is also known as an opiate analgesic. Similar to other opiate drugs such as morphine or heroine, oxycodone is synthesized from the poppy-derived thebaine. Originally developed in the early 1900s, Oxycodone was synthesized with the intent of creating a drug with similar effects to Morphine and Heroin with less dependency, but an Oxycodone addiction can still develop. Oxycodone has been shown to have a high potential for abuse and is not recommended for use unless under supervision and prescription by a physician. Oxycodone can be chewed, injected, swallowed, or snorted. Street names of oxycodone include OC, OX, Oxycotton, Blue, Hillbilly Heroin, Kicker, and Poor Man’s Heroin. Though Oxycodone typically comes in the form of a pill, it can also be crushed up into a white powder or dissolved in water.

Oxycodone Treatment and Help

An oxycodone addiction is a destructive habit that can result in several negative consequences. If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to oxycodone, the first step towards overcoming this is by identifying that there is a problem. Having the help from a professional treatment center and team for the oxycodone addiction is crucial to dealing with the complications that may have resulted from oxycodone abuse. An addiction to oxycodone 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.

Oxycodone Addiction Statistics

According to the International Narcotics Control Board, it is estimated that the United States was the world’s largest consumer of oxycodone per capita in the years of 2006, 2007, and 2008 [1]. While a lack of studies have made it difficult to calculate the number of men and women who are dependent on oxycodone, it is understood that an Oxycodone addiction is one of the more challenging forms of dependency to overcome. Other statistics on Oxycodone are as follows:

  • According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, about 11 million people in the US will consume at minimum of one dose of the drug in a non-medical way [2]. This statistic may suggest that several individuals may use a dosage of Oxycondone that is not otherwise prescribed to them.
  • In the United States, approximately 100,000 men and women are admitted to hospitals for the misuse of painkillers, such as oxycodone [3].
  • Oxycodone abuse occurs in individuals with ranging ages, though a growing trend is occurring among lower to lower – middle classes. This may be due to greater accessibility of the drug and more opportunities to abuse it [3].

Causes of Oxycodone Addiction

An addiction to oxycodone could occur for several reasons. While superficially, it may seem that an oxycodone addiction arose out of a simple need or strong desire for the drug, there are often major underlying issues connected to this substance abuse. Examples of this could be biologically, social, or psychological. There may be some genetic factors that are linked to drug addiction, and this would be a biological reason for an addiction to oxycodone. An oxycodone addiction might also be an attempt to “numb” emotional pain caused from psychological trauma, feelings of anxiety or depression, or instances of abuse. In these cases, these would be psychological causes of an addiction to oxycodone. Finally, societal or environmental situations can increase the likelihood that a man or woman might abuse oxycodone. These types of situations would be homelessness or poverty, or friends or family members who have regular access to the drug. An addiction to oxycodone can be influenced 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 nature of addiction has similar causes; therefore, it is common to find that an individual who struggles with an oxycodone addiction may abuse other substances as well.

Signs and Symptoms of Oxycodone Addiction

If you or a loved one is concerned that you might be suffering with an addiction to oxycodone, 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 oxycodone:

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

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

Oxycodone Effects

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

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

  • 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

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

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

Social Effects – The abuse of Oxycodone 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

Oxycodone Withdrawal

If a man or woman addicted to oxycodone should stop taking the drug abruptly, severe 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 discontinued:

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

Any individual who has become dependent on Oxycodone 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 using it. Relapsing can be common for men and women attempting to “stay clean” from Oxycodone for the first time. Having the support of an Oxycodone treatment facility can prevent relapse prevention and create long term success for recovery.


[1]: http://www.incb.org/

[2]: http://www.hhs.gov/

[3]: http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/pdf/policyimpact-prescriptionpainkillerod.pdf

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