Oxycodone Addiction & Abuse

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What Is Oxycodone?

Oxycodone is a strong opiate used to treat severe and long-standing pain when weaker painkillers are not sufficient. It works by blocking your pain signals within the brain and central nervous system through interacting with opioid receptors. Depending on the type of test, the drug can be detected within your body up to twenty-four hours with a blood test, and ninety days using a hair test.

Due to the intense feelings of euphoria oxycodone creates, it is possible to become addicted to the drug and you can easily develop a dependence. Consequently, misuse of the opioid prescription medication is hugely contributing to the opioid crisis.

Oxycodone's Effect on Our Daily Life

Oxycodone began its existence as a prescribed medication used in exclusive cases. It is bought off the black market, traded and cut with various other substances. Legally, this medication is still under strict control, but it is also available through various methods without prescription. The latter is considered oxycodone abuse.

Legal Status

Under existing federal law, oxycodone is a Schedule II drug. According to the Controlled Substances Act, these are substances with a high potential for abuse, with its use likely resulting in severe physical and psychological dependency. These drugs are considered dangerous and are illegal to abuse and possess if not for medical purposes.

Brand Names

The most widely used brand names you may have heard to refer to the drug are OxyContin and Oxynorm. Some tablets also include the substance naloxone, which is recruited to lessen side effects of oxycodone, such as constipation. In this case, the combination drug is branded as Targinact.

Street Names

Common street names for the drug include:

  • Oxy
  • C.
  • Percs
  • Tires
  • Rims
  • Roxy
  • Hillbilly Heroin
  • Greenies

Characteristics of Oxycodone Medicaments

The prescription drug can come in capsule, tablet, and liquid forms, which are taken by swallowing or via intravenous injection. When bought on the street, oxycodone is usually sold as a pill or in powdered form.

If taken in liquid form or in some pills, you may feel the effects from oxycodone after thirty to sixty minutes and will typically last around four to six hours. Slow-acting oxycodone in pill form can draw out its effects over a much longer time period, taking one to two days to work fully.

Depending on the brand, oxycodone can come in multiple forms. OxyContin is usually a round pill, with ‘OC’ marked on one side and the strength of the tablet on the other (ranging from ten to eighty milligrams). Other brands can come in oval shaped pills, or sometimes very minute and round. Oxycodone pills will usually have white to off-white coloring and its liquid form usually ranges from yellow to red in color.

Side effects

When you take oxycodone you may experience a range of side effects. These can differ from person-to-person but they may include:

  • constipation
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • dizziness
  • confusion
  • tiredness
  • sleep apnea: interrupted breathing during sleep
  • excessive sweating
  • dry mouth
  • mood changes
  • agitation
  • severe stomach / abdominal pain
  • decreased blood pressure and heart rate
  • difficulty urinating
  • loss of appetite and weight

Defining Oxycodone Addiction

Doctors define drug addiction as an irresistible craving for a drug that leads to compulsive use despite its harmful consequences. The endorphins oxycodone releases in the brain to produce intense sensations of euphoria can leave people chasing this powerful feeling and cause them to repeatedly take the drug.

Difference between Abuse and Addiction

It is important to be able to differentiate between the two terms. Abuse and addiction are distinct terms used surrounding the topic of drug taking, however, sometimes people use them interchangeably. Though the expressions do actually intersect, with drug abuse commonly leading to addiction.

Addiction is the out-of-control taking of the drug previously mentioned. Substance abuse is simply using a substance in a different way than what it is intended for. For example, you may be prescribed a 5-milligram oxycodone tablet from your doctor for pain management once a day but someone who is abusing the drug may take 50 milligrams over the course of a few hours in order to feel high.

The initial feeling of euphoria you experience induces mood swings that cause depression, anxiety, irritability, and hostile behavior. Some people go through paranoia, hallucinations, disorientation and delusions when under the influence of the drug.

Behaviorally, a heroin addiction causes intense cravings for the drug and increased tolerance as you need to use progressively more to achieve the sense of euphoria that attracted you to it.

Helping Your Loved Ones

If you know of someone who is struggling with drug misuse, there are multiple things you can do to help them to deal with addiction. It is important to build trust with the person and come from an understanding place of respect. It is however fair to bring up how their addiction may be impacting their life and your relationship. If speaking with a loved one and raising concern does not result in behavioral changes, other interventions can help.

Is Intervention Necessary?

Addiction within families can sometimes seem like an impossible hill to climb on your own, this is why a professional intervention is nearly always necessary. This is due to the complex behavioral, psychological, and physical issues that may be involved on the road to recovery for all of the family.

Call us now for immediate assistance

Dangers of Oxycodone Misuse

If you take oxycodone on a regular basis, you are likely to develop a dependence and addiction to the drug. There is also the danger of a potentially fatal overdose when misusing it.

Symptoms of Oxycodone Addiction and Dependence

Common symptoms of oxycodone addiction and dependence include:

  • an increased tolerance to the drug
  • inability to stop taking the drug
  • experiencing withdrawal symptoms when it is not taken regularly: anxiety, depression, nausea, excessive sweating, vomiting, severe muscle pains and cramps
  • intense cravings
  • constant thoughts surrounding the drug
  • unhealthy sleeping and eating habits
  • increased personal, professional, and legal issues
  • not being able to complete daily tasks
  • mood changes: irritability, mood swings, anxiety, paranoia
  • imparied judgment and coordination

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, it may be time to reach out and ask for help and support. Whether it be from a trained medical professional or a close friend or family member, seeking help is one of the first steps on the road to recovery.

Oxycodone Overdose and How to Help

Can you overdose on Oxycodone?

An overdose on oxycodone can commonly happen as the drug impacts a part of the brain that regulates breathing. If you take too much of the opioid, your breathing can be slowed and stopped, which sometimes results in death. If you suspect someone is having an overdose it is vital to call the emergency services immediately.


The signs of an overdose on oxycodone include:

  • a person’s breathing or heartbeat slowing or stopping
  • the face becoming very pale and sweaty
  • a purple or blue color in the fingernails or lips
  • vomiting or gurgling noises
  • the body becoming limp
  • not being able to be awakened
  • inability to speak

Administering Naloxone and Local Legislations

Naloxone is a synthetic drug which blocks opiate receptors throughout your central nervous system. This medicine can rapidly reverse an opioid overdose by quickly restoring normal breathing. The substance is administered through an injection into your muscles or via a nasal spray.

Naloxone is vital in saving someone’s life who is having an opioid overdose. According to the CDC, eighty percent of overdose deaths occurred inside a home, therefore it is useful for addicted individuals and their family members to carry a dose of the medication when possible. Although naloxone is available in all fifty states, it is not legal for civilians to carry Naloxone in all of them. These possession laws differ from state-to-state across the US, find a summary of them here.

How It Can Affect You?

Any kind of substance abuse can impact not only the individual dealing with the disorder but also their loved ones.

Family Matters

People from the outside commonly focus on the person who is directly impacted by addiction, forgetting the devastating effects it also brings to those surrounding them also. Addiction is commonly described as a family disorder, with spouses, children, and parents all having a huge potential to be affected. Family members endure their relatives going through unpleasant side effects – such as mood swings, rapid weight loss, distress – which can turn their loved one into someone unrecognizable. In some cases, people may endure physical and emotional abuse by the addicted family member, leaving lasting trauma that is difficult to deal with.

If you have a family member who is struggling with addiction, there is support on offer to help you through this rocky period.


Sometimes family members may sacrifice their feelings and needs in order to protect their loved one’s who are dealing with substance abuse. This extremely common behavior comes from a place of love but can actually enable the addiction further. This can look like:

  • feeling personally responsible for your loved one’s condition
  • feeling your needs are not being met though are less important
  • helping cover up a loved one’s mistakes: paying their legal fines, cleaning up their vomit before they wake up, making excuses to others on their behalf
  • supplying the money to buy more drugs

How Is Oxycodone Addiction Treated?

The first step in treating opiate addiction is a medical detox, for oxycodone in this case, to remove any remnants of the drug from your system. Withdrawal symptoms usually arise between eight to twelve hours after the last dose and can be extremely uncomfortable. This is why it’s important to carry out this process in the presence of a medical expert, making the process as safe and comfortable as possible.

Next, it is common to attend an oxycodone rehab program at a residential facility, where holistic treatment programs will be crafted per each individual’s needs. Therapy is usually carried out here in order to track the route cause of the addiction, work through any trauma surrounding it, and help build new coping strategies. This aftercare once reaching sobriety is essential to keep a person’s goals on track.

Find Help for Oxycodone Addiction

We understand that dealing with oxycodone addiction is extremely challenging for everyone involved. Sometimes this challenge feels impossible to overcome, but with the support of URP your journey can be made a little easier. URP offers these mentioned treatments and more, please contact us today for more information.

Do You Need Help?

You can get better with the right support. Don’t hesitate to contact us now so that we can discuss the next steps.