Narcotics are often talked about addiction and substance abuse. They’re known for their high risk of addiction and dependence. They are highly regulated and for good reason. One of the most common narcotics available is oxycodone. It is an incredibly popular designer drug, prescribed frequently for pain. Keep reading for everything you need to know about oxycodone in this guide.
What is Oxycodone?
Oxycodone is a prescription drug prescribed to patients who need moderate to severe pain relief.1 It is classified as an opiate (narcotic) analgesic. It is in Schedule II of the Controlled Substances Act, meaning that it has a high potential for abuse, and its use can potentially lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.2
There are several common brand names for oxycodone available today, all of which are listed below :
- Xtampza ER
Oxycodone-IR and Oxycodone-CR
Oxycodone on the Street
There are several common street names used for oxycodone that are officially recognized by the DEA, all of which are listed below :4
- Hillbilly heroin
Hydrocodone vs. Oxycodone
Both oxycodone and hydrocodone are narcotic analgesics prescribed to relieve moderate to severe pain. However, hydrocodone is not widely available outside of the US. It is also used as an effective cough suppressant. Additionally, oxycodone is more likely to be abused than hydrocodone is, thanks to its wide availability.
How Addiction Develops
Oxycodone is known for its addictive qualities. Here are some of the ways that it develops.
Most oxycodone addiction begins through prescription use. It is one of the most widely available pain management drugs available. As such, many doctors will prescribe it to patients who complain of chronic moderate to severe pain in their lives. Patients who use oxycodone, and other opioids, will likely feel pleasure from the substance, leading to a higher potential for abuse in most cases.
After becoming dependent upon the pain killers, addiction begins to set in. Oxycodone addiction can set in as little time as one week. For others, it may take longer to take effect, or shorter in certain cases. Regardless, the alteration of neurobiological processes results in addiction. It is believed that continued use of oxycodone over just a few days or weeks can lead to severe dependence that requires proper tapering.
Signs and Symptoms of Oxycodone Addiction
There are many signs and symptoms related to oxycodone addiction. These symptoms can be physical, behavioral, or cognitive.
Physical symptoms of oxycodone addiction can include, but are not limited to, the following :
- Slurred speech
- Drowsiness or fatigue
- Pupil constriction (pupils do not dilate)
- Coordination issues, including motor function loss
- Changes in appetite
- Disrupted or inability to sleep
Some of the behavioral symptoms that can be caused by oxycodone addiction are as follows :
- Extreme mood swings
- Anxiety or anxious behavior
- Violent tendencies and misplaced anger
- Social withdrawal
- Attempts to obtain oxycodone that is not prescribed to them (asking for leftovers)
- A willingness to place oneself in danger with the use of oxycodone
- Lying about activities or whereabouts after being prescribed oxycodone
The most noticeable cognitive symptoms associated with oxycodone addiction are below :
- Inability to remember events or information
- Impaired judgment or higher risk-taking
- Inability to focus or concentrate for any period
Oxycodone Side Effects
As with any substance, particularly a prescription narcotic, oxycodone comes with a plethora of side effects. These can be short-term, long-term, or specifically related to overdose and withdrawal.
There are several treatment options for individuals suffering from oxycodone addiction.
An oxycodone detox may take one to two weeks to take place, but the first symptoms can occur within four to eight hours after the last dose. Because the side effects of oxycodone withdrawals and detox are so extreme, many detox professionals and providers strongly recommend medical care during detox.
To help with the pain and suffering associated with oxycodone detox and withdrawals, various medications have been developed and approved for use. There are three substances approved at this time, and they are used as a replacement when tapering an individual off of oxycodone. It helps to ensure that opioid receptors remain partially activated during treatment.
Inpatient rehab is a treatment program that assists individuals suffering from oxycodone addiction through medical attention and therapy. Behavioral and cognitive therapy is provided to help patients get through all of the associated barriers that come with oxycodone addiction.