OxyContin (Oxycodone HCI) is the infamous brand name that features the powerful oxycodone opiate. Oxycodone is the featured, active ingredient used in Percocet, Percodan, and Oxycontin. The major difference between OxyContin and the other brands that use oxycodone is that OxyContin features a potent extended 12-hour release formula. Its extended-release properties produce a “greater risk for overdose and death due to the larger amount of oxycodone present” in comparison to instant-release opioids such as Percocet.
Oxycodone is an opiate agonist, meaning that it is one of the opioids that ultimately activates the opioid receptors in the brain, resulting in the total opioid effects as a result of ingesting the drug. For the last twenty-plus years, OxyContin has been a contentious drug that still contributes to the opioid epidemic that has affected nearly everyone in America.
As of 2017, more teenagers in 8th grade, 10th grade, and 12th grade will experiment with OxyContin at much higher rates than they will use the less-potent Vicodin. So while overall opioid prescriptions hit a five-year low in 2017, risks to children and teens are still increasing.
How’d We Get Here
First introduced to the market in 1996 by the company Purdue Pharma. Many experts claim that the opioid epidemic began with an aggressive marketing campaign by Purdue Pharma to sell its new OxyContin drug. Marketed as safer and more effective than other high-powered painkillers, OxyContin’s marketing campaign successfully convinced doctors and the public that OxyContin would have minimal risk for addiction and overdose.
After a decade of profits that seemed to double every year, Purdue Pharma and its top executives were forced to pay over $630 million in federal fines for its misleading and erroneous marketing campaigns. The three senior executives were also convicted of crimes. Since that decision in 2012, countless lawsuits have been filed by the city, county, and state levels, claiming that the makers of OxyContin have continued their misleading and dangerous marketing campaigns.
From 1999 through 2010, the rates of opioid deaths more than doubled as the sales of prescription opioids were more than 7x greater over the period. By 2012, OxyContin would yield its highest profits ever at $2.8 billion.
OxyContin in Our Lives
Substance abuse affects all persons regardless of income levels, religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. The wide availability of OxyContin through prescriptions may be one of the biggest causes of the opioid epidemic, with some experts going so far as claiming it was an OxyContin epidemic. OxyContin’s stronger time-release formula makes physical dependence occur in a shorter time than other prescription narcotics. As patients become addicted to OxyContin, many resort to using heroin after their prescriptions run out or become unaffordable. According to The National Institute of Drug Abuse, Almost 80% of heroin users began with taking prescription opioids. While the decrease in sales of OxyContin is a sign of hope, more than 115 people die from opioid overdoses every day in America.
OxyContin became a favorite for drug abusers early on. When first introduced to the American public, the small pills were manufactured in a way that made it very easy for people to crush up to snort, smoke, or inject. Since then, the drug company has changed the chemical makeup to make it much more difficult to use in ways other than its intended oral ingestion.
- Dehydration—excessive sweating
- Painful abdominal cramps
- Restless Leg Syndrome
- Extreme mood swings
While these symptoms are excruciating, symptoms begin to lift after 72 hours. After a week, signs of even the most acute opiate withdrawals should be noticeably less intense and nearly over. If physical addiction is limited to opioids, withdrawals typically do not include seizures. Still, medical supervision for withdrawals can be helpful to help keep the addicted person hydrated, safe, and unable to get more drugs to use.
Recovery from OxyContin is possible!
Many people think that recovery from addiction to opioids, especially OxyContin, is impossible. At Boardwalk Recovery, we know that recovery is possible. We know that hope is scary, and we know that the family and the addict have a lot of healing ahead of them. This why we believe that separation from the drug is only the beginning. We believe in approaching addiction with open hearts and compassion, and with an intense desire to live a happy and meaningful life.