is a brand name of oxycodone hydrochloride, a
synthetic opioid derived from thebaine. Oxycontin is, in medical terms, an
opioid analgesic prescribed to relieve pain resulting
from arthritis, bursitis, neuralgia, injuries and cancer. It is a
high abuse potential drug ("Schedule II" narcotic).
People may abuse OxyContin because of its euphoric effect,
similar to heroin.
Alternative & street names:
OCs, ox, and oxy, 40 (a 40 mg tablet), 80 (an 80-mg tablet),
Blue, hillbilly heroin, Kicker, Oxycotton, Cotton.
How is Oxycontin taken?
swallowed whole – as prescribed, Oxycontin has a controlled release over 12
broken, crushed or chewed – breaking the tablet negates the controlled release,
giving the user 12 hours’ of medication in one dose
– addicts of oxycontin often crush and snort the pill in order to negate the
controlled time release.
– addicts also sometimes dissolve crushed pills into water and then inject them
Effects of consumption
any drug derived from opium, Oxycontin is an effective painkiller because it
decreases pain sensitivity and increases pain tolerance. Oxycontin is designed
for its painkilling effect to slowly release in a patient’s body over a 12-hour
period. However, addicts can undermine the time-release design of Oxycontin by
consuming it via methods not prescribed by doctors.
Impact on the mind/body and health
Long-term OxyContin users risk
developing a tolerance for it, requiring them to take larger and larger doses
to achieve the same effects. Long-term abuse of Oxycontin can lead to
addiction, and those who become addicted will endure withdrawal symptoms when
they stop using.
Because Oxycontin slows the user’s
breathing, a large dose could cause a user to die by respiratory depression –
particularly at risk are inexperienced users who don’t know how much is a large
dose and don’t have a tolerance for Oxycontin like a long-term user might.
users who inject OxyContin intravenously expose themselves to more risks,
including HIV and hepatitis.
Signs of abuse of this substance
Oxycontin contains a time-release formula, a sure sign of Oxycontin abuse is
when a user modifies the tablet – by chewing, crushing, breaking, snorting or
injecting it – in order to obtain the full dose in one rush instead of over a
to the US government, OxyContin abuse among high school students is a
particular problem – 4% of high school seniors in the United States abused the
drug at least once in the past year.
Common treatment options
OxyContin addicts have a number of
addiction treatment options available to them and their families, including:
- cold turkey
- rapid medical detox combined
with residential treatment
- rapid medical detox combined
with outpatient treatment
- ultra rapid detox
Quitting cold turkey is often an
addict’s first choice, but is rarely successful. Even those who endure the
initial withdrawal face a lengthy battle with cravings that pull them toward
Medical detox with continuing
treatment is the standard “drug rehab” route. The recovery process begins with
a medically assisted detoxification as OxyContin addicts must first overcome
During detox, medications are
prescribed to help reduce the discomfort of withdrawal, with doctors on call
should a problem arise. After about a week, patients can continue additional treatment.
Detox is not treatment. If a patient
fails to continue treatment after detox, a relapse is practically guaranteed.
Post-detox treatment options vary
between inpatient and outpatient programs, including:
- Individual therapy
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- 12 Step groups
- Group therapy
- Life skills, vocational and
- Family therapy
Treatment programs teach recovering
addicts the essential skill of how to overcome powerful and permanent cravings
to use again.
Ultra-rapid detox claims to be a
much less uncomfortable program by placing the addict under anesthesia in order
to accelerate the withdrawal period; it is a controversial procedure due to its
high cost and possible danger to the health of the recovering addict.
Methadone is a long-lasting
synthetic opiate used to treat addiction to other opium derivatives such as
OxyContin and heroin. In theory, a patient who receives one dose of methadone
per day will not feel withdrawal symptoms, experience drug cravings, or attain
the euphoric “high” associated with these drugs.
There are, however, disadvantages to
- Methadone is addictive and
subject to abuse
- A patient must go to a clinic
to receive methadone daily.
- Patients who stop using
methadone experience difficult withdrawal symptoms.
Suboxone is a more recently
developed methadone alternative, which works in a similar way to keep a patient
from entering withdrawal without a euphoric “high” or drug cravings.
Suboxone is a significant
improvement on methadone treatment in the following ways:
- no daily clinic visits
necessary; suboxone can be administered in month-long doses.
- withdrawal symptoms much less
severe than methadone.
However, suboxone treatment has its
drawbacks as well:
- As a partial opiate agonist,
suboxone may provide only limited results for heavy addicts, who may
- Suboxone treatment costs more
- Doctors who prescribe Suboxone
might be more difficult to find than a methadone clinic.
who suddenly discontinue their use of Oxycontin will often experience symptoms
typical of any opioid withdrawal, including:
- Loss of