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OxyContin Addiction: Side Effects and Treatment Options

In 2017, opioids killed more than 42,000 Americans. Prescription opioids like Oxy are key factors in the death toll…

OxyContin may have taken a backseat to other prescription opioids. But it still continues to devastate the lives of addicts and their families...

OxyContin is a driving force in America's opioid crisis. A prescription painkiller, the drug was responsible for a large portion of the 42,000 opioid overdoses that occurred in 2017.

The drug is not in the public eye as much as it used to be. This is due mostly to government regulations that have limited access to the drug. Unfortunately, these efforts have not taken the drug off of the streets. People are still able to find Oxies. They are still able to abuse them and overdose on them, too.

So the crisis continues…

In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about these drugs. We’ll discuss the effects of oxycontin, the side effects, what it looks like and what makes it so addictive. We’ll also discuss why they make you sleepy, what withdrawals feel like, and what these drugs can do to you after a period of prolonged use.

In addition, this article offers some treatment advice for addicts. It outlines a detox and rehab plan. It touches on some alternative treatment options, as well.

Hopefully, this will help us to connect addicts with the help and support they need. It’s our belief that no one should have to suffer through the pain of an opioid addiction by themselves.

Recovery is possible.

Is your prescription drug habit spiraling out of control? Take one of our free online assessments to figure out if you have a problem:

Am I Addicted to Prescription Drugs?

Some Brief Statistics

  • According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, roughly 115 Americans die from an opioid overdose every day.
  • More than half of these deaths are related to semi-synthetic or natural opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone.
  • The Center for Behavioral Health Statics and Quality reports that target="_blank"2 million U.S citizens struggle with a prescription opioid addiction.
  • The problem isn't going away, either. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that, between 2016 and 2017, opioid overdoses increased by 30%.
  • Oxy addiction goes hand-in-hand with heroin addiction. Research estimates that roughly 5% of people who misuse painkillers develop a heroin addiction later on.
  • The same study estimates that 80% of current heroin addicts began by misusing Oxy or another medication.

OxyContin: What is It?

Oxy is a prescription painkiller. It’s a brand name medication. It’s made by Purdue Pharmaceuticals, a widely successful drug manufacturer. The drug is offered in eight different dosages ranging from 10 mg to 160 mg.

Unlike other opioids, this one is an extended-release drug. That means that it is released into the bloodstream slowly, instead of all at once.

It is made almost entirely from oxycodone, an opioid chemical. This chemical is an addictive ingredient. It’s the part of the drug that eases pain and causes feelings of euphoria. It’s also the chemical that causes users to become addicted.

Oxycodone is included in many other drugs. This class of drugs includes Percocet, Endocet, Percodan, and Roxiprin.

Doctors have prescribed the drug for nearly 20 years. At one point, it was the most widely abused prescription drug in America.

OxyContin: What is It?

What is OxyContin used for, anyway?

Well, the drug is used to treat chronic pain. When used responsibly, it has strong pain-relief qualities.

Because it's an extended-release drug, it provides round-the-clock pain relief. It differs from other prescription opioids in this way. For the most part, other drugs are intended for as-needed use.

Trusted doctors are quick to point out that it should not be used for fast-acting pain relief. There are other drugs for quick relief. This type of behavior may be a slippery slope toward addiction.

Only those who suffer from debilitating pain should use it. Cancer patients, for example, are prescribed it. People who undergo intense surgery also benefit from it. It is not intended to treat minor injuries.

There are several negative side effects of OxyContin. They include:

  • Headaches
  • Mood swings
  • Itchiness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Disorientation
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Profuse sweating

These side effects are all adverse symptoms. Prescription users who experience any of these symptoms should call their doctor immediately. Non-prescription users should cease usage as soon as possible.

Oxycodone is the generic name for OxyContin. However, the Drug Enforcement Agency points out that the drug has many nicknames. Some popular ones include:

  • Hillbilly Heroin
  • Kicker
  • OC
  • Ox
  • Oxy
  • Oxycotton
  • Oxies
  • Roxy

Oftentimes, street users call the drug by its dosage measurement. These number-based nicknames refer to the amount of oxycodone a particular pill contains.

Some popular dosage nicknames include:

  • Op 20
  • Oxy 80
  • Roxy 60
  • etc

These names and numbers are interchangeable. Users often substitute their desired dosage for the number at the end of the nickname.

What Does Oxy Look Like?

Did you find some small white pills that say “OP 10” on them? Those could be Oxycontin. Here’s how to identify this dangerous drug.

This drug comes in pill form. The pills are usually round. While they all have similar traits, each dose comes in a unique form.

OP 10: A 10 milligram Oxy is small and white. Sometimes, it is imprinted with a number on one side and letters on the other side.

OP 20: An OxyContin 20 mg pill is small and pink. It may have an imprint on both sides.

OP 30: The 30 milligram pill is brown. It is slightly larger than the 20mg version. Imprints are found on both sides of the pill.

OP 40: 40 milligram pills are yellow. They have engravings on both sides.

OP 60: OxyContin 60mg pills are red. They are one of the largest forms of this drug. They are imprinted with the letters “OP” on one side and the number 60 on the other side.

OP 80: Oxy 80s are highly sought after by opioid addicts. These pills are green. They are the largest pill produced by Purdue.

You can find more images of OxyContin at Drugs.com. The site has a fantastic pill identifier. You can search for images by size, shape, color, and imprint.

Please note: Bootleg versions of this drug are common. It’s relatively easy to make a copy. But, manufacturers may adjust the design. As a result, homemade oxies may not look like the ones Purdue makes. Therefore, the drug can take many forms.

Many people ask, “How long does Oxycontin last?”. This is an important question for prescription users. It’s also important for addicts who are attempting to detox. The drug’s duration determines how long it takes to detox from it.

The answer to this question lies in its half-life. The “half-life” is the amount of time it takes for the body to flush out 50% of the total amount used. Most oxycodone has a half-life of 3.2-5 hours. This means that, after 3 or 4 hours, half of all the oxycodone a person took will flush out.

Here’s an example:

Let’s say that someone takes an OP 40 mg pill. After 4 hours, they’ll only have 20mg left in their system. Or, if they too an OP 80 pill, they’ll only have 40mg left in their body after 4 hours.

Now, OxyContin pills are different from oxycodone. Most of them are extended-release tablets. This means that they take longer to diffuse into the bloodstream. As a result, they last longer and take longer to flush out.

The half-life of an extended-release pill may be as high as 12 hours. So, if someone takes an OxyContin 20mg extended-release pill, it could take half a day for them to expel 10mg of it.

Drug Comparisons

How does this drug compare to other opioids? How are the effects similar? How do they differ?

Oxy is kind of in its own league. Yes, it’s an opioid. By, it’s an extended-release drug. So, it is somewhat similar to other prescription opioids. But, it has some traits that set it apart from other drugs.

Here are a few comparisons

Oxycodone and hydrocodone are very similar. They are both used to treat acute pain. They both carry a high risk of abuse. They are both addictive.

The main difference is in their effects. Each chemical interacts with different opioid receptors in the brain. Therefore, they have a slightly different impact on the body. To a non-user, these effects are unnoticeable.

Percocet and Oxy are quite similar. However, Percs are immediate-release. They do, however, contain far more Oxycodone than other similar drugs.

Both Oxies and Percs are highly addictive.

Over the past few years, Fentanyl has made quite a name for itself. There's a growing awareness around just how dangerous this drug is. In 2015 alone, Fentanyl killed more than 20,000 people.

While both drugs are opioids, they're quite different. Unlike OxyContin, Fentanyl is morphine-based.

These two drugs are highly addictive opioids. They are both administered to patients after surgery. While they both have pain-relief effects, they affect the body in slightly different ways.

Oxycodone, for example, is known to create swelling in the skin, muscle tissue, and esophagus. Morphine is not.

Tramadol was designed as an alternative to highly-addictive opioids. It was supposed to be non-addictive. tIn recent years, however, that has been proven false.

While the drug is not as deadly as other opioids, it is still dangerous. Studies show that more than 2.6 million Americans use tramadol irresponsibly. This issue may not be as dire as the OxyContin addiction crisis, but it's still scary.

Naproxen is not an opioid. It is, however, used to treat pain. This drug can be purchased without a prescription in many states. It is contained in drugs over-the-counter drugs like Aleve.

Naproxen addiction is a topic of debate. Some believe that it’s non-addictive. Others believe that is comparable to oxycodone. Whatever the case, Naproxen has not killed nearly as many people as Oxy.

Dilaudid is a painkiller that contains the chemical Hydromorphone. This is another popular drug among opioid addicts.

There is speculation that Dilaudid is more addictive than other opioids. Unlike Oxy, it is still prescribed in mass quantities and, thus, is more susceptible to misuse.

Oxytocin is not a drug. It’s a hormone. A person’s body produces this drug when they are in love. Unlike oxycodone, this is a natural substance that can’t be abused or purchased from a pharmacy.

OxyContin Drug Interactions

This is a highly powerful opioid. Therefore, it should never interact with other drugs. By mixing it, users can put themselves at risk of heart failure.

Here are a few drugs that should never mix with oxycodone.

The combination of oxycodone and fentanyl can be deadly. Both drugs are highly powerful opioids. They both sedate the central nervous system, which slows a person’s heart rate. If someone takes both of these drugs at once, their heart can stop beating entirely. This is how overdoses usually occur.

It’s important to note that fentanyl and oxycodone are occasionally used by doctors in hospice treatment. Despite this, users should never attempt to mix them on their own. This process requires careful administration and constant monitoring. Otherwise, it can cause death.

Buprenorphine is a drug used to treat opioid addiction. It is most commonly found in the product Subutex. Essentially, this drug blocks the brain’s opioid receptors. This makes it impossible for a user to feel the effects of heroin or other opioids.

Theoretically, this drug works to cure opioid addiction by removing the incentive. If a user can’t get high, why would they use?

When taken in combination with oxycodone, this drug can be fatal. Because the user can’t feel the effects of oxy, they may take more than normal to get high. When someone takes too high of an opioid dose, they can drive themselves into an overdose.

Many users ask, “Can you mix hydrocodone and oxycodone together?”. It’s a reasonable question. The two drugs are so similar, it seems like it would be okay to mix them.

In reality, they don’t mix well. Doctors don’t prescribe them together and recreational users who mix them often take too much. If someone is using OxyContin, they should stay away from Vicodin, Lortab, and other drugs that contain hydrocodone.

Alcohol is a depressant. This means that it depresses the central nervous system. As a result, mixing alcohol and opioids is dangerous.

Alcohol also inhibits a person’s ability to make good decisions. So, they may drink too much or take too many pills, which increases the risk of overdose.

No one should ever drink while taking OxyContin, even if they’re only taking a 10 milligram dose.

Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs used to treat anxiety. The most common ones are Xanax, Klonopin, and Valium. While most people use these drugs for medical purposes, they are also a popular party drug.

It’s dangerous to mix benzos and opioids unless prescribed by a doctor. It increases the risk of an overdose. In a recent study, researchers for the British Journal of Medicine found that 49% of prescription drug overdose victims had both classes of drugs in their body.

Sleeping pills can be a helpful resource for insomniacs. But, they can be dangerous when mixed with opioids.

Sometimes, recreational users take Benadryl with oxycodone to make it stronger. Unfortunately, this increases the negative effects of Oxy. It can result in a stopped heartbeat. If untreated, this will leave to an overdose.

Oxycontin Addiction Information

How Addictive is Oxycodone?

This drug is very addictive. In fact, the CDC found that the risk of chemical dependency increases dramatically every day an addict continues to use.

The agency's recent study looked at the years between 2006 and 2015. They found that even a one-day supply of this drug carries a 6% chance of prolonged use.

A six-day supply carried double the risk. A twelve-day supply carried a quadrupled risk.

With only a week and a half's worth of prescription opioids, therefore, the chance of developing a life-altering addiction jumps to nearly 25%

OxyContin and other opioids work by binding to small sites in the brain. These sites are known, appropriately, as opioid receptors.

Opioid receptors are designed to receive signals from other parts of our body. When someone feels pain in their finger, for example, their receptors receive a signal letting them know that their finger hurts. Essentially, this is a threat-detection process that helps humans to avoid danger.

The opioid receptors receive pleasant signals, too. When something good happens, our brain gets a rush of dopamine and serotonin. Those chemicals make us feel good.

But the human brain is not meant to get too much serotonin or dopamine. The opioid receptors actually regulate the amounts of these chemicals that are allowed to enter. The brain simply gets small squirts of these chemicals here and there to remind us when we're doing positive things.

When we take opioids, the drugs actually prevent our opioid receptors from working properly. This allows a huge rush of dopamine to flood our brain.

Unfortunately, the rush of dopamine that opioids provide is unparalleled. No other activity in life provides quite the same rush of pleasure. Petting a dog, eating good food, exercising, or even holding our own baby gives us that rush.

This effect is intensified by the fact that the drugs also kill the pain. When the pain signals are unable to reach our brain, we feel even happier.

Of course, this effect only lasts so long. Once it wears off, the addict will start to feel cravings. These are signals from the brain that prompt the addict to use more. Cravings are very hard to reduce. If the addict continually feeds them, they'll become chemically dependent over time.

OxyContin Abuse

Drug abuse is hard to define. Sometimes, it’s hard to tell the difference between responsible use and drug abuse. Often, opioid abusers fail to recognize that they’re abusing drugs until it’s too late.

Oxycodone products are meant for medical use. But, many people slip into a bad habit by misusing their prescription. They take a few extra pills here and there without considering the consequences of their behavior. Sometimes, drug abuse is recreational. Users buy Oxies from a dealer or get them from a friend to get high.

Whatever the case, it’s important to know the difference between drug use and abuse. Once someone starts misusing opioids, the risks increase exponentially.

There are a few key behaviors that are considered to be drug abuse. If someone is engaging in these activities, they are abusing drugs.

Medication is prescribed in specific doses. If a doctor prescribes 10mg of OxyContin per day, the patient should use that amount. If the addict takes 20mg or 40mg instead, they are abusing their prescription. Overusing is a sign that the patient needs higher doses to feel the effects. This means that they have built a tolerance for the drug and should work to wean off it.

Opioids are meant to ease pain. No one, under any circumstances, should use them for fun. Using OxyContin recreationally is considered drug abuse.

Even if someone is prescribed Oxy, they shouldn't mix it with other drugs. The only exception to this is if a doctor has ordered them to do so. Prescription drug interactions can be deadly. Mixing them with alcohol can be risky, too. Everyone should avoid doing so.

Mixing it With Other Drugs

Using illicit methods to consume drugs is dangerous. Some OxyContin addicts do this to feel heightened effects. Snorting, injecting and, smoking the drug increase the risk of overdose.

Opioids aren't cheap. They can be quite expensive, particularly if the addict doesn't have insurance. As a result, drug abusers often resort to stealing meds to feed their cravings.

This drug should only be purchased from a pharmacy. However, because it is so addictive, people often resort to buying on the street. This is risky, as street drugs are unregulated. Street opioids are often laced with Fentanyl or other, stronger drugs. This increases the likelihood of an overdose.

Drug abusers will only get high for a certain amount of time before their tolerance builds. At a certain point, the doctor will no longer provide them with the high doses their habit requires. In these cases, many people turn to "doctor shopping" to get what they need. This term refers to the illegal practice of seeing multiple doctors and getting multiple prescriptions.

Obviously, abusing drugs is unsafe in its own right. But people with severe habits often take additional risks in order to get high. They might drive a car or operate heavy machinery under the influence. They might even go to dangerous places to obtain their fix.

OxyContin abuse comes with all kinds of negative side effects. The user's physical health, mental stability, and personal life may suffer. If the addict faces any negative consequences yet finds themselves unable to stop, they have a drug problem on their hands.

The Risks of Oxy Abuse

Abusing Oxy is dangerous. It can have life-threatening consequences.

The danger comes from the effect that the drug has on the body's central nervous system. Our CNS regulates some of our most important functions. Our lungs, heart, and brain are all impacted by the Oxycodone chemical. If someone takes too much of this drug, they put their life at risk.

The Risks of Oxy Abuse

Long-term side effects of Oxy abuse include:

The Food and Drug Administration states that OxyContin users may experience lung problems and breathing issues. Even those who use it responsibly can feel this side effect. Those who abuse the drug, however, are at a high risk of respiratory failure.

Oxycodone and other opioids target the part of the brain that regulates breathing. They slow our central nervous system down. When that occurs, our lungs stop operating properly. They pump air in and out at a much slower rate.

In certain cases, the drug will cause the lungs to stop completely.

Chronic opioid use places a lot of stress on the heart. Like the lungs, the heart is directly connected to the central nervous system. The CNS regulates how fast the heart beats at any given time. If a user ingests too much Oxycodone, the chemical may cause the user's heart to stop.

Also, if an OxyContin addict goes into withdrawal because they can't get a fix, their heart may speed up too fast. This can cause heart failure, too.

Painkillers are supposed to ease pain symptoms. However, evidence shows that, when abused, they can actually make pain worse. Some addicts are diagnosed with opioid-induced hyperalgesia. This is a condition in which pain gets worse as the injury heals.

This condition is exacerbated by withdrawal symptoms. OxyContin withdrawal symptoms are known to be particularly painful.

As the central nervous system slows down, the digestive process also slows. As a result, the body is unable to expel food fast enough. Many opioid addicts experience severe constipation. Opioid-induced constipation may require medical attention.

If someone uses a drug long enough, their body grows accustomed to having that chemical in it.

Then, they’ll need more. They may start with Oxy 40s but then they’ll need 60’s. Before they know it, they’ll be using several Oxy 80s each day.

After a period of time, it may not function properly without the drug. This is known as physical dependence.

When an addict is dependent on a drug, they'll experience severe cravings on a regular basis. They may get anxious, nauseous, or even physically sick if those cravings aren't fed.

The biggest risk of OxyContin abuse is overdosing. As we've explained above, overdoses occur when the drug shuts down the user's body. Whether their lungs stop breathing or their heart stops pumping blood, overdoses can be fatal.

Some people are able to live through overdoses. However, survival requires the user to get immediate treatment. Unfortunately, many overdose victims don't survive.

From Abuse to Addiction: A Spiraling Habit

It doesn’t take long for a drug abuse habit to become an addiction. Once a user is chemically dependant on Oxies, they’ll have trouble functioning without them. They may need opioids to get out of bed in the morning and might take them several times each day.

Over time, this can have disastrous effects on a person’s life. They put their own health in danger. They may alienate their family or friends. They may even lose their job or get in trouble with the law.

It’s important for an addict to exit the addiction cycle as early as possible. It’s way harder for someone to repair their life after an addiction than it is for them to quit before the problem progresses.

If you or a loved one uses Oxy, it's important to know the signs of addiction. We've outlined some of them below to help you keep an eye on the habit.

"Addiction" can be a loose term. Depending on who is defining it, the definition may range. Some people believe that it's a failure of willpower. Others recognize it for being the disease that it is.

When we talk about addiction, we use the definition outlined in The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Edition Five ( DSM-5). This is a manual written by the American Psychiatric Association. It is used by medical professionals to diagnose mental conditions.

In the DSM-5, the APA establishes a clear definition of substance use disorder. They use an eleven-point criterion to diagnose addicts. According to the Manual, addicts will experience at least some of the following symptoms:

  • Using a drug in larger quantities or for a longer time period than prescribed
  • Having the desire to cut down but not being able to
  • Devoting a lot of time toward using, obtaining or recovering from the effects of a drug
  • Experiencing cravings for the drug
  • Not being able to meet responsibilities because of drug use
  • Using even after relationships start to suffer
  • Avoiding social, professional or recreational situations in order to use
  • Putting safety at risk in order to use
  • Using even after physical and mental health suffer from the habit
  • Building a tolerance for the drug
  • Experience withdrawal symptoms when the drug is not in their
  • In order for a doctor to diagnose someone with substance abuse disorder, they must show at least 3-4 of the symptoms listed above.

The Legal Side Effects of Oxycodone Addiction

Opioids have all kinds of negative effects on an addict’s life. It causes physical health problems. It can take a toll on their mental health. And, it puts them at risk of an overdose.

But, taking Oxycontin without a prescription is also illegal. The drug is currently classified as a Schedule II Controlled Substance. In the words of the DEA, “Substances in this schedule have a high potential for abuse which may lead to severe psychological dependence.”

So, an Oxy addiction could actually cause legal problems for an addict.

Currently, the sentencing guidelines for possession of oxycodone are as follows:

People go to jail simply for carrying the drug on them. Non-prescription opioids are illegal, after all. In the U.S, oxycodone possession carries a minimum prison sentence of 15 days for first-time offenders. Those with a criminal record may be sentenced to several years of jail time.

Drug trafficking carries high punishments. In the United States, trafficking a Schedule II substance carries a maximum sentence of 10 years. It also carries a fine of up to $100,000. The more OxyContin they have in their possession, the higher the sentence.

In 2017, 543 offenders were arrested for oxycodone trafficking. The average sentence for this group was 44 months.

Offenders don’t have to be caught trafficking in order to get a trafficking sentence. If the police find that someone has the “intent to distribute”, they will charge the offender accordingly. In the eyes of the law, intent to distribute is comparable to trafficking.

In order to identify intent, police officers try to find clues. They often look for packaging materials like plastic bags and zip ties. They also look for large amounts of cash, which could be a sign of profiteering.

There are a number of factors that can lead to a higher sentence. The possession of a weapon, for example, may lead to further jail time. If an offender is caught for possession of OxyContin within a school zone, they are also likely to get more jail time.

Other factors include:

  • Age
  • Criminal history
  • Amount of drugs involved
  • Whether any deaths were involved
  • Whether any children were involved
  • Whether the crime was gang-related
  • Unusual circumstances

The courts look at all of these factors when deciding on a sentence. There is no one-size-fits-all punishment.

The Transition from Oxy to Heroin

Have you ever wondered how someone could become a heroin addict? Why would anyone do that to themselves knowing this drug is so deadly?

Well, no one ever plans to become a heroin addict on purpose. Oftentimes, they start by taking prescription opioids.

According to researchers from Washington University in St Louis, 5% of heroin users begin by taking a painkiller prescription. An article entitled, “The Changing Face of Heroin Use in the United States” explains that roughly 5% of current heroin users started with prescription opioids.

Heroin offers two things that other opioids don't. First, it's very cheap. Oxys cost as much as $100 per pill. Heroin, on the other hand, costs as little as 60$ per bag. Insurance companies cover the cost of painkillers for a period of time. But, as the addict needs larger doses they may turn to the streets to get their fix.

Secondly, heroin is far more powerful than Oxy. Even if the addict crushes up their pills to snort, the medication doesn't offer the same high that heroin does. When addicts become aware of the power of heroin, they often seek it out and make the transition.

Thinking about transitioning from Oxy to dope? You could have a serious problem. Give us a call and we'll set you up with the addiction resources you need.

Unexpected Dope Fiends

"Once her pills ran out, she turned to buying them on the street...An old friend, a heroin user, suggested that she give his drug a try." - Jessica Ravitz, CNN

Most of us have a certain dope addict image in our mind. They're usually sitting in an alleyway, nodding off with a needle in their arm. This isn't the reality, though. Most addicts live in normal houses. They eat normal food. And they just happen to suffer from addiction.

Jessica Ravitz' article, "Inside the Secret Lives of Functioning Heroin Addicts", published on CNN.com, illuminates this condition. The piece pays special attention to heroin addicts who developed an OxyContin addiction first.

"I've always wanted to see the world,' he says. "I've never been outside of the country because I can't leave. I'm f***ing chained where I'm at.'"

Todd, one of the men profiled in the article, holds down a high-paying job. He spends as much as $600 on drugs. Todd is to the point where he no longer gets high. He simply uses to avoid withdrawals. He lives a double life as an addict and a professional.

"He once told a pharmacist he was a science teacher in need of syringes for experiments.”

"He's explained the bruises on his arm by telling people he has diabetes or an infectious disease," Ravitz writes about the anonymous man. "He once told a pharmacist he was a science teacher in need of syringes for experiments.”

Another woman, Lisa, turned to heroin after police cracked down on her source for pills. "I can't find pills, I'm in pain and it's really cheap," she's quoted in the article. "What happened to me is what happens to thousands and thousands of people."

Todd and Lisa's stories should be warning signs to us all. Prescription drug addiction is a slippery slope toward even worse things.

Prescription opioids can have dramatic and terrifying effects on addicts and their families. Here are a few more addiction stories pulled from Bluelight, an online addiction community forum.

"I was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital after one of my overdoses. After being shocked twice, my heart started beating again. I was in a coma for a few days. All of my organs suffered severe damage from lack of oxygen. No one expected me to live. I had a team of doctors fighting to save my life and not a single one of them can explain how I am alive today or how I don't have any kind of damage." - brutus

"All of my friends eventually abandoned me as did the majority of my family. I contracted Hep-C from a dirty syringe and have yet to seek treatment. I have scars on my right arm from constant IV use. I am sure my internal organs have also suffered from shooting pills. It took my confidence. It made me feel like I didn't deserve anything good in life. It filled my life with shame and anger. It helped me drive myself into complete isolation and block off anyone that ever cared about me. It legitimately changes the chemistry in your brain." - MemphisX3

There is Hope: Getting Off of OxyContin

At a certain point, Oxy addicts won't be able to function without the drug in their system. This can cause all kinds of problems for them. They might ruin relationships, lose their job, or even overdose.

As long as they're still alive, though, they still have a chance.

Quitting OxyContin is never easy. Like most opioids, it creates a severe dependence in the user. This makes sobriety quite difficult. They'll experience withdrawal symptoms, which are painful. The process is tough but it can be overcome.

With a plan of action and professional treatment, however, anyone can kick their habit.

Start your recovery journey today. Click here to learn about our detox and rehab programs.

The first step toward sobriety is detoxification. Drug detox is the process in which the addicts get all traces of the drug out of their body. When an addict has opioids in their system, they'll continue to experience strong cravings. The cravings decrease after the drugs are cleared out.

Detoxing from Oxy is not fun. Addicts are likely to experience withdrawal symptoms. After the withdrawal process has ended, they will be on the road to a new life.

OxyContin withdrawal symptoms are particularly painful. Because the drug has such powerful effects, the detox process feels powerful, too. The symptoms are both physical and psychological.

An addict in withdrawal is likely to get physically ill. They are also likely to experience strong feelings of anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Some other common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Bone and muscle aches
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Chills or tremors
  • Abnormal sweating
  • Fever
  • Cold-like symptoms
  • Agitation
  • Exhaustion

Some addicts will feel all of these symptoms. Others will only feel a few. The severity of withdrawal depends on a number of factors. Their age, weight, and nature of their habit will all affect the withdrawal process.

The best way to cope with withdrawal symptoms is to detox in a professional treatment facility. There are doctors at treatment centers who are trained to help addicts through the detox process. These doctors know how to make detox as quick and painless as possible.

There are a few things that doctors do to help the process along. First, they develop a customized detox plan for the addict. Not all opioid addictions are the same. Those who have a severe habit, for example, may need to taper off of the drug. If they are used to taking 80mg of Oxy every few hours, the doctor will lower them to 60mg, then 40mg, etc.

Other people may be able to stop cold turkey. A doctor will ensure that the addict is detoxing in the best possible way.

Secondly, doctors provide medication if necessary. While some addicts can simply stop, others require medicated detox. Those who have severe addictions or co-occurring disorders should seek professional help.

Lastly, they make sure that addicts are hydrated during withdrawal. People in detox get very sick. They vomit. They sweat. They lose large amounts of water. Although it can be painful to drink water while withdrawing, hydration is important. Treatment doctors will ensure that their patients have enough water in their system.

Yes. Home detox is possible. However, it is not recommended. OxyContin withdrawal symptoms can be excruciating.

Oftentimes, addicts who detox at home don't make it to the end without relapsing. In fact, between 40% and 60% of addicts who fail to seek professional treatment relapse. If they don't relapse during the detox process itself, they do so within the first few months afterward.

Looking for home detox tips? Check out our guide to safely detoxing at home.

Could detox improve your life? Take our free opiate addiction quiz to find out.

How Long Does it Take to Detox from OxyContin?

It takes as long as 2 weeks for a long-term addict to withdraw from Oxy. In most cases, users should be able to detox in a week.

The typical opiate withdrawal timeline looks like this:

The addict will start to feel withdrawal symptoms during the first 48 hours after they stop using. These symptoms usually take the form of muscle pain, bone aches, and anxiety. They will feel strong cravings. They are likely to start feeling nauseous, too.

These symptoms are a result of the body’s shock. It is accustomed to having a steady supply of oxycodone. Once that supply it shut off, it begins to panic. It generates pain and anxiety to signal to the person that something isn’t right.

It’s crucial for the addict to avoid relapse. They should remind themselves that they’ve made the right decision.

Throughout the first week, withdrawal symptoms grow worse. The addict will experience severe aches. They are likely to sweat profusely and vomit. They may experience diarrhea, as well.

Sweating, vomiting, and diarrhea occur because the body is flushing out toxins. This is how the drug exits the body. The expulsion process may be uncomfortable. But, it’s a sign that things are progressing.

During this period, withdrawal symptoms peak. They won’t get any worse than they are during these few days. The addict should continue to think positive thoughts. It will only get easier from here.

Toward the one-week mark, an addict’s withdrawal symptoms diminish. Nausea will subside. Physical pain starts to go away. It may be easier for them to eat food and drink water.

However, they may have trouble sleeping. Their brain is still acclimating to life without drugs. It will work round-the-clock to adjust. This often results in insomnia.

At the same time, the addict might feel depressed. This happens because of dopamine depletion. After a period of using dopamine-enhancing drugs, levels drop. This results in depression.

A week after the addict takes their last dose, the drug should be gone from their body. All of the byproducts that accumulated in their liver will be gone, too. With OxyContin out of their system, all physical side effects should subside.

While they are technically done with detox, they may still experience emotional side effects. Anxiety and depression can last for several weeks. This varies from case to case.

This usually happens because the user’s brain chemistry is off. Depression and anxiety are symptoms of unbalanced neurotransmitter levels in the brain. It also occurs because the addict feels mentally clear for the first time in a while. In their clarity, the addict may feel embarrassed, ashamed, or guilty. These feelings can lead to prolonged mental side effects

At this point, medical detox patients move onto rehab. There, they can find treatment for anxiety and depression.

OxyContin Rehab: The Next Step

"The mentality and behavior of drug addicts and alcoholics is wholly irrational. Unless they have structured help, they have no hope." - Russell Brand

Detox is only one half of the recovery process. It helps the addict to get physically clean. However, in order to stay sober in the long run, they must also get mentally clean. This is what drug rehab is for.

Drug addiction takes a strong hold on the mind. Addicts get into certain patterns that make it easy for them to stay off drugs. In order to avoid relapsing, they need to develop better habits.

Rehab provides addicts with a systematic approach to sobriety. In rehab, the addict meets regularly with therapists and addiction specialists. These individuals help the addict to identify the roots of their addiction. They also help the addict to pinpoint triggers and to develop tools for managing cravings.

Additionally, addicts spend their time in group support sessions with other drug users. The group takes turns discussing their history, offering advice, and sharing stories. Oftentimes, newly sober addicts feel overwhelmed and alone. Addicts need support to overcome their issue.

Addicted to prescription drugs? Learn more about our drug rehab program here.

There are a few different types of rehab. Each type caters to the needs of different addicts. The two main types are inpatient treatment and outpatient treatment.

Types of drug rehab

Inpatient rehab is a residential treatment program. Addicts live on campus for a few weeks. Usually, they go through withdrawal in the same facility. Once they've done that, they start rehab treatment.

Not everyone wants to live in the facility itself, though. Some addicts prefer to live at home and report to the center regularly. This is particularly the case for people who have an OxyContin addiction. Many of them have families and jobs that they need to take care of.

For these folks, outpatient treatment is a better option. These programs are similar to inpatient except the patient lives off-site. They attend daily meetings and counseling sessions before returning home.

Ultimately, the best type of rehab depends on the needs of the addict.

What Happens in Rehab?

Every rehab program is different. They all have their own treatment schedules and unique amenities.

Is Opiod Rehab Expensive?

In a well-rounded rehab treatment center like Northpoint, patients will find some of the following resources:

Therapy is an integral part of recovery. Addicts need to overcome their emotional baggage in order to stay sober. Oftentimes, past traumas and regrets drive people to use drugs. So, rehab patients work with therapists to overcome these things. Ideally, this helps the addict to move on and live with relapsing.

Group therapy is another important part of recovery. It’s helpful for addicts to connect with others who’ve struggled with substance abuse. By getting together and sharing stories, addicts can see that their problems are not unique. In rehab, addicts attend daily meetings with other people in recovery.

Some drug rehab programs offer specialized forms of therapy. Two popular ones are cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). Both of these resources teach addicts how to identify triggers and manage stress. In theory, they give addicts the tools to get handle daily stresses without resorting to drugs.

Bibliotherapy is a resource that helps addicts learn how to express themselves. After all, not everyone is comfortable sharing their stories out loud. By jotting down stories in a notebook or journal, addicts learn how to transfer their thoughts from the internal world to the external world. This can be very meditative and cathartic.

Many addicts find it helpful to learn how addiction works. Even if someone spent years taking OP 60mg pills all day long, they may not realize why they’re addicted. The classes offered in rehab can inform addicts about why addiction happens and how it affects the brain. This not only helps the addict to stay sober but may give them the tools to support other people in recovery.

Many rehab centers offer meditation classes. This is a great form of stress-relief. Many people believe that meditation is a crucial part of the recovery process. Oftentimes, former patients continue to practice daily meditation routines even after they’ve left.

There are several benefits to exercising during drug abuse recovery. First, it helps addicts to release pent-up energy. Many rehab patients deal with anxiety, and exercise is shown to decrease anxiety levels. Also, it supplies the brain with dopamine. Oftentimes, newly recovered addicts suffer from a lack of dopamine. Exercise helps to restore dopamine levels.

Cross-addiction occurs when someone is addicted to two or more things at once. Someone may be addicted to mixing hydrocodone and oxycodone, for example. Or, they might be addicted to the interaction between OxyContin and alcohol. In some cases, someone may have a non-drug problem like sex addiction, love addiction, or gambling addiction. Whatever the case, the user will need to work through these conditions simultaneously. Rehab can help them do that.

Is Opioid Rehab Expensive?

Addiction treatment can be pricey. Between staff, facilities, and resources, rehab centers invest a lot of money into their services. As a result, some rehab centers charge thousands of dollars for treatment.

At Northpoint Recovery, we believe everyone should have access to detox and rehab. No one should have to skip treatment because they can’t afford it.

That’s why we work directly with insurance providers to bring prices down. Most insurance companies cover the cost of addiction treatment. So many addicts are able to attend detox and rehab without paying a penny.

For those who don’t have insurance, we offer payment plans. This allows OxyContin addicts to get treatment now and pay for it later.

Rehab doesn’t have to be expensive. Verify your insurance plan today!

Aftercare for Oxycodone Addicts

OxyContin addiction doesn't end when the addict finishes rehab. It takes years to fully recover. The addict will still experience cravings. They'll still face triggers. And they'll still have problems in their lives.

For that reason, rehab aftercare is strongly recommended. This gives addicts the continued support they need to stay sober.

Aftercare takes many forms. Some common ones include:

12-step meetings: Narcotics Anonymous is a free resource for opioid addicts. The organization holds daily meetings in nearly every city. Folks who are addicted to OxyContin, heroin, meth, and other drugs gather to offer support to each other.

Sober living homes: Sober homes are houses that help addicts to get back on their feet. Addicts live together in these homes as they work toward living a sober life. Residents are required to pay rent and maintain their sobriety.

How to Help Someone Who is Addicted to OxyContin

If your friend or family member is addicted to opioids, it’s important to get them help. If left untreated, their problem could progress.

Are you finding small, pink OxyContin pills around your child’s room? Does your spouse have a bag of OP 80 pills in their drawer? Are they overusing their prescription meds?

They could be an oxycodone addict.

Unless these drugs are prescribed, they are very dangerous. It’s important that they seek treatment. If they fail to get help, their habit could lead to lead to negative health problems or even an overdose.

There are a few things you can do to help:

The first thing you should do is approach the addict directly. Talk to them in a casual manner. Don’t be confrontational. Ask them about their drug habit. Try to get an idea of whether or not they are willing to get help.

In some cases, they may open up right away. They might tell you that they also think they’re addicted to Oxy. If this occurs, you can help them to find treatment as soon as possible.

Or, they may reject your conceros. They may become angry or defensive. If that happens, you should step away from the situation and return to it later.

Before you approach them again, you should come up with a treatment plan. That way, you can offer them an ultimatum at some point.

For example, you may decide that they need to attend detox. After that, you may want them to go to OxyContin rehab. Do your research and pick the best rehab program for them. If necessary, call a treatment center and get some professional input.

You should also decide on the consequences. What is going to happen if they don’t get help? Do they have to move out? Are you going to cut them off financially? There need to be some negative consequences if they decide not to pursue treatment.

If the addict doesn’t seek help after your initial conversation, you should hold an addiction intervention. This is a meeting where the addict’s family and friends confront them about their habit.

In an intervention, the participants express their concerns. They explain how the addict’s habit is affecting their own life and causing pain.

Ideally, this convinces the addict to attend detox and rehab. Of course, it doesn’t always work like that. Sometime, the addict may become angry. In order to prevent the conversation from escalating, it helps to hire a professional intervention moderator to facilitate the meeting.

Is your family member an opioid addict? Take our free online quiz to get answers.

Crack Cocaine Addiction and Treatment

Are You Suffering from OxyContin Addiction?

Oxycodone is a dangerous chemical. It, along with other opioids, ruins thousands of lives each year. If you or a loved one is currently struggling with addiction, it's important to get help.

We want to help you.

Northpoint Washington is an intensive outpatient treatment center. We're committed to assisting addicts in their battle with addiction. We provide detox and rehab services for addicts and their families. Give us a call today.

Talk to a Rehab Specialist Today

Our admissions coordinators are here to help you get started with treatment the right way. They'll verify your health insurance, help set up travel arrangements, and make sure your transition into treatment is smooth and hassle-free.

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Northpoint Washington: Opening April 2019

Our facilities currently open for services:

Ashwood Recovery at Northpoint

Outpatient drug and alcohol rehab and addiction counseling located in Boise, Idaho.

Northpoint Recovery

Our National Medical Detox and Inpatient Addiction Facility.

The Evergreen at Northpoint

Outpatient drug and alcohol rehab and addiction counseling located in Washington State.