When taken as prescribed, it provides relief for chronic to severe pain. Many thousands of people have gotten the medicine from their health care providers.
At the same time, OxyContin has become a drug that is widely abused. Some people who started with legitimate prescriptions for it, continued taking it even after the pain treatment was no longer needed. Lying to themselves and their doctors allowed the OxyContin takers to continue its use.
OxyContin is an opioid which makes it highly addictive. Like heroin or morphine, it brings on psychological and physical cravings that are real and intense. Even people taking the drug as a pain treatment may have a tough time weaning themselves off it when it is time to leave the medicine behind.
Some OxyContin addicts did not start their use of the drug under doctors’ orders. Many discovered the drug through family members or friends who had genuine prescriptions. Stealing from family, friends and strangers to obtain OxyContin happens every day.
Office workers have been known to reach into the untended purses of co-workers to steal prescription bottles of OxyContin. Sometimes the addict will take only a few pills at a time, trying to avoid the owner’s discovery that pills are missing. In private homes guests with addiction problems may snoop through medicine chests looking for potent medicines like OxyContin.
Young people or their friends may come upon bottles of OxyContin prescribed for parents. The age of volatile emotions and experimentation makes sampling someone else’s prescription very tempting. Addiction to OxyContin comes on quickly.
In 1995, the government allowed the release of high dose OxyContin. The numbers of addicts increased dramatically after that. Some commentators liken the effects of OxyContin to those of heroin, saying that it acts like the powerful street drug except in slow motion.
The human body takes longer to process OxyContin. This makes it even more challenging to leave behind. Some addicts who want release from the drug’s hold try to leave it behind cold turkey.
Withdrawal from OxyContin needs to be accomplished gradually, however, to avoid painful and potentially dangerous reactions. These can include fainting, confusion, and seizures. Milder but significant withdrawal symptoms are itching, insomnia, nausea and vomiting.
Some of these symptoms may appear as side effects to overdosing as well as allergic reactions to prescribed doses. A physician’s guidance is always recommended for anyone taking OxyContin. He or she can monitor the patient’s responses to the medicine and adjust the dosage if needed or switch the patient to a different medicine.
Since many addicts must be secretive about their use of OxyContin, they may very well be alone when any allergic symptoms or overdose complications appear. The medicine distorts brain patterns so users may not register that they are in physical danger. They might try to regulate their discomfort by taking some other drug such as alcohol and end up making a bad situation much worse.
Misusing OxyContin can lead to coma or death. The deadly risks increase when the user crushes and snorts OxyContin. Some users mix it with liquid and inject it.
When the time-release protection gets thwarted by these abusive tricks, the user may experience euphoria similar to that given by heroin before the deadly or nearly deadly effects set in. All the pain killers pouring into the body at once easily cause overdose. People who have not developed tolerance to the drug are especially at risk.
OxyContin overdose can inhibit oxygen intake. This severe depression of the respiratory system can kill a person. When OxyContin gets mixed with other depressants such as alcohol or Valium, breathing can slow to a fatal level.
Anyone who has suffered through addiction knows how difficult it is. There is pain in the addiction itself, with the user focused each day on how to find the OxyContin or other drug. Perhaps the user must lie to another doctor to obtain a prescription.
Maybe the addict will have to search out a street dealer who has illegal OxyContin for sale. There is much fear involved in addiction. The user worries that the next dose will be impossible to find, or that securing it illegally will lead to jail time and public humiliation.
Those who have conquered OxyContin addiction know that it is a tough journey to the other side. Admitting to the addiction is a difficult but important step toward recovery. Few manage to kick this addiction on their own, and those who try run the risk of causing themselves medical harm.
Seeking help from a clinic, a private doctor, or an addiction-breaking support group are safer options for quitting. Support group members have been there themselves and understand what it is like to leave behind an addiction. Medical professionals can help addicts leave the drugs behind on a gradual basis so that their bodily systems are not compromised.