OxyContin is one of the leading abused prescription drugs in the United States. Its addictive qualities are highly dangerous and well documented. It is an oft-prescribed pain medication as it is very potent. Its strength is part of what makes humans so susceptible to it. But what exactly is Oxycontin? Why is it so addictive? If there is someone in your life that you know or believe has formed an addiction to the drug, how can they get help?
At New Life House, we work with addicts in all stages to treat their OxyCotin addiction, and offer them new patterns for living a sober life.
What Is OxyContin?
OxyContin is a prescription-only medication. Doctors typically prescribe it to treat patients with chronic or intense pain. OxyContin is the brand name for the drug Oxycodone hydrochloride. One of the major benefits of oxycontin is its ability to treat pain on one dose for up to 12 hours. This is possible because of a time release component in the drug itself.
The time-release capability is one of the reasons that doctors still prescribe the medication for patients in horrible pain. Over the 12-hour time period, OxyContin releases the specific pain-relieving drug Oxycodone. However, these doctors prescribe this while also having to consider the high risk of dependency.
Oxycodone is a derivative of opium, which is why the drug is such a powerful pain reliever and also incredibly dangerous. Oxycodone is a Schedule II controlled substance. This means it is under strict regulations within the medical field. Doctors only prescribe the medication in cases of serious and/or chronic pain.
OxyContin is highly addictive and can be lethal when abused. The chemical make-up is all but identical to that of heroin, another derivative of opium. Its similarity to this street drug is what makes it dangerous, despite its potential benefits.
OxyContin is one of the main addictions for our former addicts at New Life House. We fully understand its effects and how difficult the journey to recovery is. If your son or brother is struggling with OxyContin addiction, we are here to help.
How Is OxyContin Used?
When used properly and legally, OxyContin prescriptions help patients manage intense or chronic pain. It is a narcotic analgesic or an opioid analgesic. Most doctors only issue OxyContin in cases of serious, acute pain that will last no longer than a few weeks.
OxyContin is typically in tablet or capsule form. The form supports the time release aspect of the drug to make the pain relief last longer. Depending on the severity of the pain, a medical professional may recommend half a tablet to two capsules. However, due to the risky nature of the drug, most doctors tend to keep doses small. They write prescriptions for only a short period of time to reduce some of the risks. Patients should take the pills at the same time every day and strictly follow the doctor’s orders.
The powerful nature of oxycodone is, unfortunately, widely known to much of the public. It’s one of the many reasons OxyContin addiction is so widespread. Often, addicts will steal OxyContin prescriptions from family and friends.
The drug is dangerous even to those who are experiencing acute pain. A perfectly healthy person does not stand a chance against OxyContin’s addictive nature. If caught and addressed early enough, though, addiction doesn’t have to be fatal. We can offer real help for your loved one without the involvement of a rehab facility.
At New Life House, we know how easy it is to become reliant on OxyContin. In our sober living facility, former addicts can feel safe discussing their past. We work with them as they set themselves back onto a path of success and sobriety. Understanding is an important part of healing.
Is OxyContin Addictive?
This country is amidst one of the worst opioid epidemics the world has ever seen. The widespread abuse of opioids only seems to be getting worse as the years pass. As noted earlier, oxycodone, the actual drug within OxyContin, is a derivative of opium. Over the years, the proportion of those treated for heroin as opposed to those treated for primary opioid abuse (such as OxyContin) is staggering. Heroin is still a problem. However, primary abuse of drugs like OxyContin has become far too common.
Escalation to more potent opiates is another risk with OxyContin. Many heroin addicts started with oxycodone abuse. Any opioid derivative presents a high risk of addiction and dependency. OxyContin is no different. OxyContin addiction is swift and aggressive. Overcoming it can seem impossible without help.
Every resident at New Life House has undergone treatment for some kind of addiction, many for OxyContin. Our age-sorted sober living arrangements provide a welcome opportunity for former addicts to bond and grow together in their recovery, beyond addiction.
Why Is OxyContin So Dangerous?
With repeated usage, the addiction sets in fast. Physical and mental dependency are all but immediate after only a few doses. The risk is especially high if not prescribed or if not taken as prescribed. Every person reacts differently to narcotics. However, the overwhelming majority of addicts experience issues with opioid dependency, including OxyContin.
There are many unfortunate aspects of this drug. One societal effect is that doctors will cut patients off OxyContin well before they have dealt with their acute pain. Doctors, too, are trying to do their part to curb the addiction epidemic. For patients, this is devastating as they must live with their acute pain. Others patients might have a doctor who prescribes it continuously if their doctor believes they are coping well with the drug. For these patients, there is an increased risk of developing dependence.
Opioids are such high-risk, addictive drugs because of how they interact with the brain’s GABA receptors. GABA receptors link to pleasure and relaxation. Certain GABA drugs treat anxiety, for instance. Opiates can produce overwhelming feelings of euphoria and contentment in the user.
If exposed to the opiate for too long, the brain no longer feels the need to produce the natural endorphins related to these feelings. Indeed, the brain will no longer have the natural, healthy number of neurotransmitters to produce the “good” feelings.
Essentially, addiction to OxyContin is a chemical dependency. The brain has to rely on outside sources (oxycodone, heroin, other opiates) to create a healthy endorphin level to feel “happy”. If the mind cannot naturally produce them, the dependence increases. The result is that the user seeks more OxyContin and, possibly, much worse.
The other danger of dependency is developed tolerance. Opiates, like many other drugs (painkillers in particular) eventually cause the user to build up a tolerance, especially over long periods of time. The tolerance level only increases with use. The patient requires more and more OxyContin in order to feel relief or the “high” that they seek. This can make the addiction even stronger and that much harder to beat.
At NLH, we don’t take OxyCotin addiction lightly. We’ll treat this addiction immediately before your loved one’s addiction escalates. Contact us today to learn more about our treatment plans and to set up the first appointment.
What Are the Symptoms & Side Effects of OxyContin?
Even when taken as medically prescribed, OxyContin has a wide range of side effects. Many of these only get worse with addiction as it progresses. Some of these side effects include:
- Pain relief
- Dry mouth
- Loss of appetite
Some of the more serious side effects include slowed breathing and heartbeat, severe weakness, confusion, and seizures. Whether prescribed or illegally obtained, any of these serious side effects should warrant a visit to a doctor to prevent a possible fatality.
Over time, OxyContin abuse results in increasingly worse effects. The “normal” side effects become far worse and more sustained. Some of the physical and psychological effects of OxyContin abuse are:
- Mood swings
- Dry mouth
- Constricted pupils
- Respiratory depression
- Extreme sleepiness or “nodding out”
Some of these are part of the average effects of OxyContin. However, with continued usage, something as small as a headache or a little sweat can become a pounding migraine and profuse sweating. Dependency increases the dosage, which increases the physical effects. It also impacts mental stability quite harshly over time. A few of the behavioral signs of continued oxycodone abuse include:
- Taking more than prescribed (if obtained legally)
- Alternative methods of intake (Rather than tablets, something like snorting, smoking, or injecting)
- Track marks from shooting it up
- Extreme drowsiness
- A drastic change in demeanor
- Difficulty maintaining personal relationships
- Doctor shopping (frequently and repeatedly switching healthcare providers to obtain new oxycodone prescriptions)
In the “best” of addiction cases, OxyContin abusers experience personality effects and some physical pain. In the worst cases, dependence on oxycodone results in unintentional overdose, coma, or even death.
How Long Does OxyContin Stay in Your System?
OxyContin is meant to control pain for 12 hours. However, the drug itself can stay in your system for much longer at detectable levels, even if it no longer has any effect. The most common methods of drug testing are urine samples, blood tests, and hair follicle samples.
Most jobs and health screenings use urine samples. They are the cheapest drug test for businesses to use and have the shortest time frame. There are many factors that could influence the results of a drug screening. However, the average individual who recently took oxycodone, ecstasy, or some other OyxContin-related drug will test positive for oxycodone up to 3 to 4 days are ingesting the drug.
Blood tests are far more common in medical or lab settings, but they are still a common method of testing for drugs. Blood tests are also the least reliable in terms of detecting opioids, including OxyContin. On average, oxycodone can only be detected in the bloodstream up to 24 hours after administration. Other tests, like follicle tests or urine samples, will be much more effective at detecting drug usage. If there is some concern that a loved one may be abusing OxyContin, one of these other 2 tests may be a more reliable source than a blood test.
Hair Follicle Testing
This is the best method of drug testing, for any drug, let alone OxyContin. The tester can detect past usage farther back in time. They can capture a picture of the addiction much more accurately than blood, urine, or saliva tests. Hair follicle testing is also, by far, the most expensive form of testing, and thus is much less common. It’s also quite involved, so many doctors and businesses do not use it.
However, if you believe a loved one may be in danger, it might be the best option. A proper hair follicle test can detect oxycodone in hair follicles up to three months after use. If someone is a chronic user, it will definitely be apparent.
The Effectiveness of Drug Testing
The important thing to remember is that drug test results can vary depending on a number of factors. Different drug tests are better at detecting different sorts of drugs. Here are a few things that could affect the results of a drug test:
- The height and weight of the user. A patient’s size can play a major role in how long the drug will be detectable in their system
- The amount of drug used. Addicts will have a much higher percentage of the drug in their body than the average patient. The higher the dosage consumer, the longer it remains in the body.
- The user’s metabolism. Those with faster metabolisms may have a shorter window in which the drug is detectable through more common drug testing methods.
Remember: Drug testing might be proof of abuse, but it does not cure addiction. Addiction is a disease, and proper help is necessary for recovery. Should a loved one undergo a drug test and the worst results come in, it is important to seek help for full recovery. At NLH, we start this process immediately.
How Can I Tell If Someone Is Abusing OxyContin?
Addiction to OxyContin is not easy to hide. However, by the time the truly serious symptoms present themselves, it may be too late. Addiction and abuse happen fast, without the user ever really realizing it. The first sign is the normal side effects getting worse. This includes things like headache, itching, confusion, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and more. Other major indicators of abuse are the following:
- Mood swings
- “Nodding out”
- Pupillary constriction
- Dry mouth
- “Doctor shopping”
- Stealing or “borrowing” OxyContin – either when the prescription runs out, or in general if it was never prescribed
- Increasingly risky behaviors
- Forging prescriptions
- Neglecting personal responsibilities
- Difficulty maintain relationships
- Smoking or injecting the drug
- Crushing and snorting the pills for increased impact
Some of the factors vary based on the length of time of abuse, the route of administration, and the frequency of use. Severely increased effects, to the point of drastic personality changes, are a clear sign that the user needs serious help.
Addiction to any drug is dangerous, let alone any derivative of opium like oxycodone. It can quickly develop into something potentially fatal if not treated quickly. There are ways to get help, like sober living facilities such as New Life House. Our living community is an alternative to rehabilitation centers for addicts in need. We’re happy to meet you and your loved one today.
What’s the Detox Like for OxyContin?
Like any drug with addictive qualities, withdrawal and detox from OxyContin can be quite grueling. That is why there are many facilities and sober living homes that exist solely to help users cope with the struggle of recovery. Our staff at New Life House has the experience and tools to help make the recovery process easier. But what exactly happens during withdrawal and detox, and how long does it take?
In severe cases of addiction and abuse, withdrawal symptoms can be fatal without proper supervision. Detoxification is extremely important to a healthy recovery process. The process typically requires help, preferably from professionals such as those at New Life House sober living facility. If a loved one is suffering from addiction, a sober living location is one of the best places they can be during their recovery period.
The withdrawal period during and after the detox can be so intense that users often relapse. Most withdrawal symptoms begin 8-12 hours after the last dose. The symptoms often manifest as severe flu-like symptoms. Withdrawal typically lasts anywhere from 4-5 days to a couple weeks. The duration of the withdrawal period depends on the severity of the addiction and the amount administered.
So how does detoxing help? It’s an important part of a healthy rehabilitation. Just remember: it is not the full treatment. This process seeks to rid the system of the drug in a healthy manner. It also addresses the behavioral and emotional effects that OxyContin has on users. By offering holistic treatment, it reduces the likelihood of users relapsing.
There are two forms of detoxification – medically-managed and non-medical.
- Non-medical is potentially life-threatening and the form wherein relapse is far more likely.
- Medically-managed detoxification is a healthier way to make the body less and less dependent on the drug until it no longer needs it at all. Professionals regulate the detox and use specific medications to ease withdrawal in a safe way. Doctors in this field generally specialize in addiction medicine. If not regulated correctly, some of the medication used in OxyContin detoxing may become habit-forming.
Detox under medical supervision is the safest method and provides the most relief. Withdrawal is incredibly uncomfortable no matter how an individual goes through it. However, with medical supervision, symptoms are more manageable and less likely to be fatal or result in a relapse.
How Can New Life House Help?
New Life House is a sober living facility. Our philosophy is the same as many other reputable drug treatment programs. Truly successful recovery from serious drug addiction is a phased process. It includes:
- Primary treatment
- Rehab aftercare/sober living
After detox, former addicts might feel lost, weak, or unsure of how to continue their newly regained life. That is where New Life House comes in. Our sober living facility strives to teach and foster healthy life skills. Our mission is to help individuals feel good about their progress and their future. Excitement for life replaces a need for drug abuse.
Our sober living aftercare centers are age-specific. We believe the young addict in your life will feel more at home around those close to their age. Recovery from addiction can be overwhelming if done alone or if done with those who don’t understand. At New Life House, residents do understand each other. They can help each other grow into their newfound happiness and recovery.
Contact Us Today
We are available every day of the week for phone calls and appointments. We know patients are not the only ones affected by addiction. That’s why we provide assistance for both recovering addicts and their loved ones. We want to help our residents to flourish and heal, along with their family. Give us a call today at (888) 357-7577 to initiate your loved one’s journey to recovery today.