Oxycodone is a powerful painkiller used to treat moderate to severe pain. It is the main ingredient found in many commonly abused brand-name painkillers like OxyContin and Percocet. While there is a use for this drug, it’s also addictive and can cause respiratory distress or death when taken in high doses.
Many people who abuse oxycodone start out taking a prescribed dose, but as their body develops a tolerance, they need more to feel the same effects. This transition can go quickly, usually much faster than people realize. And because taking oxycodone is easy to conceal, people are able to cover up their abuse for some time.
Are you concerned that someone in your life is abusing oxycodone? Let’s explore the signs to look for. Being aware and informed can save a life!
Why Do People Abuse Oxycodone?
Doctors prescribe oxycodone because it offers long-lasting pain relief. Unfortunately, this is the same reason why people abuse the drug. Opioid receptors in the brain react strongly to the drug, causing a person to feel relaxed, pleasant and euphoric. The brain then wants to keep taking the drug over and over to feel good.
In the 1990s, oxycodone was prescribed in large numbers. Unfortunately, doctors and patients were unaware of how addictive these drugs were. The federal and state governments had to step in and take control. They developed prescription-monitoring programs to make it harder to “doctor shop”, a process where patients obtain prescriptions from multiple doctors.
While the prescription-monitoring programs made it harder to get opioids, they also led some people to turn to heroin as a substitute. In fact, roughly 75 percent of heroin users report taking prescription opioids first. Even though heroin is a dangerous drug, it creates similar effects as prescription painkillers and can be cheaper and easier to obtain.
What are the Signs of Oxycodone Abuse?
OxyContin is one of the most commonly abused prescription drugs. Its controlled-release formula lasts up to 12 hours, but some users bypass this by snorting or crushing the drug. This allows them to feel the full effects all at once.
Opioid users are often good at hiding their abuse at first, especially because there is little evidence. But it eventually catches up to them. If you are concerned that a loved one is abusing oxycodone, here are some signs to watch for.
Oxycodone provides powerful pain relief for an extended period of time. All a person has to do to get it in their system is swallow a pill. While there isn’t any paraphernalia, there are some physical signs to pay attention to. These include:
- Droopy or watery eyes
- Slowed breathing
- Slurred speech
- Short attention span
Social or interpersonal problems
People who grow addicted to painkillers end up putting their drug use before other things, including their relationships with others. Your relationship with your loved one is important, but if you’re struggling to be close, it could be an isolated case. However, if your loved one is experiencing problems with others as well, something bigger may be going on.
When the body is addicted to something, it goes through withdrawal when it doesn’t get what it wants. If you notice your loved one feeling irritable or nervous, having headaches or experiencing insomnia, this could be because they’re going through withdrawal when they run out of their prescription.
Is your loved one failing to keep up with their responsibilities? If they’re suddenly struggling in work, school or home, it’s possible that their drug use is getting in the way. Addicts spend a lot of time seeking and using their substance, making it difficult to keep up with their obligations.
Mental health problems
Addiction and mental health disorders go hand in hand. Has your loved one suffered from mental health problems in the past? Are they experiencing them now? Underlying mental illness can motivate a person to use drugs and alcohol to cope with their symptoms. For a full recovery, the mental illness must be properly diagnosed and treated.
Has your loved one used oxycodone when they weren’t in pain? Do they take more of the drug than what’s recommended? Or do they combine the drug with others to enhance the effects? This indicates that the drug is being misused, which can quickly turn into a full-blown addiction. Abusing oxycodone can also lead to tolerance, meaning that the body needs more to feel the same effects.
Intervention and Next Steps
The risks of an oxycodone addiction are serious. Continuing to abuse this drug can lead to overdose or death. This is why you can’t afford to turn a blind eye to someone who may be struggling with an opioid addiction.
Staging an intervention is the first step in helping your loved one to acknowledge their problem and accept help. Addiction treatment centers are well-versed in treating opioid addictions and can help your loved one stop the abuse, address underlying mental health challenges and develop healthy coping mechanisms.
It’s best to work with an addiction treatment counselor or professional interventionist who can help you stage a successful intervention. Acceptance Recovery Center offers intervention services as well as detox and integrated treatment. By working with our team, your loved one can get the personalized help they need under one roof.
Contact Acceptance Recovery Center in Scottsdale, Arizona to learn more about our intervention, detox and treatment services for opioid addiction.