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Oxycontin Addiction

The opiate Oxycontin is of paramount importance to the DEA. It and other opiates are part of a disturbing trend of prescription drug abuse. Over seven million people (almost 3% of the nation’s population) abused prescription drugs in 2007, and almost six percent of high-school seniors abuse and are at risk for addiction to Oxycontin.


When taken as intended, Oxycontin is a very effective pain reliever. As we mentioned, it’s an opiate, and it’s used for chronic pain relief. It is tempting to abusers because of its high content of oxycodone- Oxycontin addicts often crush the pills, then either snort or inject them. This gets around the “time release” feature of the medication, and it results in an almost instant “rush” that’s followed by a long-lasting sense of mellowness. As the user takes more and more, they build up a tolerance, and Oxycontin addiction is the result. This addiction is so strong that people will go to almost any length to get it- whether that involves fake prescriptions, doctor shopping, buying from street dealers, or theft.

Oxycontin abuse was first noticed in rural sections of the Northeast- mainly West Virginia, Ohio, Maine, and Pennsylvania. People in these areas were originally prescribed the drug to relieve pain brought about by hard manual labor in jobs such as farming and logging. Normal use does not mean that someone is addicted to Oxycontin, but when a person takes more than the recommended dose or takes the drug for longer than it was prescribed, they’ve crossed over into abuse. If the abuse continues, the person will probably become addicted.

If you think that someone you care about is abusing or addicted to Oxycontin, here are some things you need to look for.

  • Trouble falling or staying asleep

  • Diarrhea

  • Excessive sweating

  • Muscle pain

  • Slow breathing

  • Constricted pupils

  • Confusion and lethargy

To the untrained eye, a person high on Oxycontin may act like they are drunk. But, if you let them sleep it off to sober up like you would with someone who’d been drinking, it could be fatal. Why? Oxycontin tends to depress the respiratory system, and an extremely high dose can stop breathing altogether. If you see someone overdose on Oxycontin, call 911 immediately, and if you think you have an addiction to Oxycontin or another opiate, seek help as soon as possible.

The treatment for Oxycontin addiction is pretty similar to treatment for other opiate problems. Detoxification alone is not enough to eliminate the drug from the system. Withdrawals for an addict are painful, and must be treated with drug therapy under close medical supervision. Also, the addict must undergo counseling and behavioral modification therapy, which will reduce the chance of a relapse. The road out of an addiction can be a long and hard one. Don’t try to beat an Oxycontin addiction on your own. If you are addicted, you need to visit your doctor for an evaluation. After that, you’ll be referred to an appropriate drug treatment program.

Drug Enforcement Agnecy (DEA) –
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA) –
National Institue of Health (NIH) –

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