OxyContin is an oral tablet that consists of oxycodone hydrochloride. Oxycodone is an opioid analgesic that manufacturers derive from opium. Many medical professionals and clients refer to this type of drug as a narcotic painkiller. Other types of drugs in this class include Percocet, Darvocet, Vicodin, Lortab, Endocet and more. The class also includes narcotic cough medicine. All these medication types have an origin that is closely related to opium. Manufacturers create some narcotic painkillers with a mixture of ibuprofen or acetaminophen. However, OxyContin is an unmixed form of oxycodone hydrochloride. Therefore, its addiction potential is more severe.

What is OxyContin Used to Treat?

Doctors use OxyContin to treat a number of ailments and disorders. They mostly use this product to treat people with moderate or severe pain. Such pain could include back pain, female tumor pains, migraine headaches, terminal cancer discomfort, or surgery pains. The drug works by blocking the transmission of pain signals and increasing the endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are chemicals in the brain that play a huge part in a person’s happiness. The result that most people get from the use of OxyContin is a state of euphoria and a temporary elimination of any pain that he or she felt. The state of euphoria is the cause of many addictions to this drug.

Oxycontin Addiction Statistics

Narcotic painkiller addiction is a common problem throughout the world. This substance is highly addictive and can grab a person’s attention with the first prescription. Doctors should prescribe this product only when it is completely necessary. The following are some statistics on the growing problems related to OxyContin:

  • More than 2 million US citizens use OxyContin.
  • OxyContin addiction and abuse costs the United States almost $500 billion dollars per year.
  • More than 120 deaths have occurred from OxyContin use worldwide.
  • Hundreds of thousands of emergency room visits are due to OxyContin abuse

What Does OxyContin Look Like?

The visual element of an OxyContin pill depends greatly upon the dosage. A 10 milligram form of the pill appears as a round white tablet with the number 10 imprinted on one side and an “OP” printed on the other side. A 15-milligram tablet is gray in color, round, and it has an “OP” printed on one side and the number 15 on the other side. The 20-milligram version of OxyContin is a pink rounded pill that follows the same suit as the previously mentioned versions. The 30-milligram pill is brown, whereas the 40-milligram pill is yellow. The highest pill is the 80-milligram tablet. The 80-milligram OxyContin is round like all the others.

Street Names for OxyContin

People who use and sell OxyContin on the streets have a wide variety of names for the pills. The simplest street name for this product is OCs, which is an abbreviation for OxyContin. Some users refer to the drug as hillbilly, cotton, heroin and kicker. Additionally, some people refer to OxyContin simply as “Oxy”. The street names describe its effects and the way it makes people who use it feel.

How Doctors Prescribe OxyContin

Doctors will prescribe OxyContin according to the patient’s level of pain, weight and medical history. A person who weighs a tad more than 100 pounds would most likely receive the lowest dosage, which is 10 milligrams. The client is to take each pill in its whole form and not crush or chew the tablet. The time that a person can take another pill depends on the type of pill. Extended release versions of OxyContin can last all day long. A client may be able to take a regular release OxyContin pill once every 4-6 hours.

The Risks of Taking OxyContin

As with any drug, some risks exist with taking OxyContin. Before a doctor and a client decide to use this drug, the physician should review the person’s complete medical history. The biggest risk with OxyContin use is complete respiratory depression. The other risk is addiction. Therefore, the doctor should ask the client questions about his or her mental health history as well as the physical history. People who have mental illnesses, previous substance abuse issues, asthma, kidney disease, epilepsy, gall bladder disease, low blood pressure and enlarged prostates have the highest risk of developing further issues.

How OxyContin Affects the Mind and Body

OxyContin affects the mind and body in three ways. First, it causes the person to experience a state of euphoria because of the increase in endorphins. Next, it blocks the transmission of pain, causing the user to feel no pain no matter how severe his or her condition. Lastly, OxyContin slows down the person’s nervous system, which causes him or her to feel drowsy. Sometimes the individual will fall asleep while he or she is attempting to perform everyday tasks. Some people refer to this action as “nodding out”.

Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of OxyContin

OxyContin has some uncomfortable short-term and long-term effects, as well as certain side effects. One of the most prevalent complaints from people who use the substance is constipation. Some other effects that may come from OxyContin use are shallow breathing, nausea, vomiting, rashes, itching and throat swelling.

Long-term effects of OxyContin include chemical tolerance and dependence. Users can develop a physical need for the substance very quickly, and they may need greater amounts of it to feel its effects. Additionally, the individual can develop respiratory distress. The person may feel lightheaded, dizzy, confused, weak, and he or she may have a slow heartbeat. Overdose symptoms include cardiac arrest and ceased breathing.

Getting Help for OxyContin Addiction

Any person who believes that he or she has a problem with OxyContin should contact a specialized rehabilitation facility for help. This person will have to go through an extensive process that involves detoxification, group counseling and individual therapy. Rehabilitation centers are available to help an OxyContin victim without judging that person. They have open arms and hearts when dealing with this epidemic. No one should feel ashamed to ask for help with the problem.