Oxycodone continues to be one of the most commonly prescribed drugs for managing pain. Almost everyone has heard of this medication, even if they don’t understand exactly what it is or what it does.
Oxycodone is a potent painkiller when people use it according to their doctors’ explicit instructions. However, oxycodone can be powerfully addictive when someone begins to use more of the drug than prescribed, or begins to become reliant on its side effects. People from all backgrounds and walks of life have struggled with opioid addiction. Understanding how this drug works is the first step to helping yourself or someone you care about begin to break the oxycodone addiction cycle.
What Is Oxycodone?
As an opioid, oxycodone belongs to a family of drugs that derive from the opium poppy. Other opioids you have probably heard of are morphine and heroin. Oxycodone is what’s known as a semi-synthetic opioid, which means it is partially human-made. Doctors prescribe it for people who need pain relief 24/7.
We have receptors in our brains that naturally bind to opioids, which is how they create their mental and physical effects. When you take opioids, you will notice a significant reduction in pain, closely followed by sedation and euphoria. Opioids cause a flood of dopamine, a pleasure chemical that is part of the brain’s reward system.
Oxycodone and other opioids can deliver far more dopamine than your brain produces on its own. Eventually, this effect makes your brain produce less natural dopamine, while making you feel like you can’t function normally without taking the drug regularly. This point is where abuse and addiction become serious concerns.
Oxycodone Abuse in the United States
Medical professionals have warned oxycodone users about its potentially dangerous effects for decades. The drug first became available in 1916, though oxycodone did not make it to the U.S. until 1939. The World Health Organization initially introduced the concept of opioid dependence in 1964.
1990 saw the seeds of today’s opioid crisis planted when the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations claimed, “There is no evidence that addiction is a significant issue when persons are given opioids for pain control.” Sadly, a mountain of evidence points to this statement – backed by the for-profit makers of OxyContin – being an outright lie. Today, 35 percent of all opioid overdose deaths are due to prescription painkillers. Oxycodone, especially in the form of OxyContin, is one of the top three drugs most commonly involved in overdose deaths.
Side Effects of Using Oxycodone, OxyContin and Percocet
In addition to the strong potential for addiction, opioid abuse has long-term effects that wear down the body in multiple ways. Opioids like oxycodone, OxyContin and Percocet have a negative influence on almost every bodily system, including the gastrointestinal, respiratory, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, endocrine and central nervous systems. People who have abused opioids for a long time often report feeling generally ill, even when they can’t name any specific symptoms.
How to Overcome an Oxycodone Addiction
It can feel alarming to admit to yourself that you might have become addicted to a prescription pain medication like OxyContin or Percocet. However, help is available for people who are determined to stop the cycle of opioid drug misuse. Your first step is to find a qualified facility that specializes in medical opioid detox. At Inland Detox, we have helped hundreds of people lay the groundwork for addiction recovery. Contact our Temecula facility today to begin to achieve long-lasting sobriety from opioid abuse.