OxyContin Abuse and Addiction
OxyContin is the brand name of a time-release formula of oxycodone, an opioid pain-relief medication synthesized from the opium-derived compound thebaine. OxyContin is one of several semi-synthetic opioids created to replace morphine and codeine in medical practice. OxyContin is currently the best-selling non-generic narcotic pain reliever in the United States.
OxyContin is classified as a Schedule II drug as it has a high potential for abuse that can lead to severe psychological and physical dependence.
According to several studies, hazardous abuse of opiates is increasing in general, but abuse of OxyContin is mentioned most frequently in the studies. Several factors have contributed to rising hazardous use and diversion of OxyContin in the U.S. First, the large amount of OxyContin available compared with other types of oxycodone pills makes them more likely to be stolen or diverted. Second, the rising trend of crushing OxyContin pills to rapidly release oxycodone despite warning, and then injecting or snorting the drug. Last but not least, the ability to purchase OxyContin legitimately by prescription for a few dollars and then easily sell it illegally for as much as $20 per pill.
People who abuse OxyContin are at higher risk of severe withdrawal symptoms as they tend to use more than the standard prescribed doses.
The most common effects of OxyContin include euphoria, constipation, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, lightheadedness, headache, dry mouth, anxiety, itchy skin, and profuse sweating. High doses can cause shallow breathing, bradycardia, apnea, hypotension, pupil constriction, and in some cases circulatory collapse, respiratory arrest, and death.
Severe withdrawal symptoms are likely if OxyContin use is discontinued abruptly. Symptoms of OxyContin withdrawal, similar to other opioids, are anxiety, nausea, insomnia, muscle pain, muscle weakness, and fever. Psychological dependence will continue after the physical withdrawal, and psychosocial treatment is recommended.
Medically supervised OxyContin detoxification (detox) is recommended for cases of OxyContin abuse and OxyContin dependence.
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