OxyContin Abuse, Addiction, and Treatment in Orange County, California
OxyContin is a popular semi-synthetic opioid that is used to relieve moderate to severe pain. Although it is one of many prescription opioids, OxyContin, in particular, has been the center of controversy and lawsuits. It has also taken part of the blame for how severe the opioid crisis in the United States has become due to its infamous history of being abused and causing addiction, overdose, and death.
Even though OxyContin is a prescription drug, it is crucial that you don’t underestimate the addiction potential. If you or a loved one are abusing OxyContin, the best thing you can do for yourself is to get professional help. A medical detox and treatment program can help you detox safely and regain control over your life. Speak to a dedicated admissions counselor at Sheer Recovery today to learn about your treatment options.
What is OxyContin (Oxycodone)?
OxyContin is a brand-name medication containing a controlled-release formulation of oxycodone, an opioid drug. The medication is indicated for the management of severe pain that requires daily, around-the-clock, long-term treatment. It is typically used in situations in which alternative treatment options are ineffective.
OxyContin comes in the form of a tablet or pill that is meant to be taken orally. However, people who abuse the drug may crush and snort it or dissolve it in water to inject it intravenously.
Due to both the effects of the drug and OxyContin’s role in the opioid epidemic as a highly addictive drug that initially affected many rural Americans and people living in the Appalachian region, it is often referred to as “Hillbilly Heroin.” Other street names for OxyContin include “Oxy” and “OC.”
Understanding the Controversy Behind OxyContin
When OxyContin was first approved by the FDA in 1995, the manufacturers (Purdue Pharma, owned and founded by the Sackler Family) touted the medication as an effective opioid, but with less abuse potential than others. Doctors, nurses, and their patients were under the impression that OxyContin could be prescribed safely because it was a controlled-release formulation that would not produce an immediate “rush” or “high” like other opioids would. However, people who were abusing OxyContin quickly realized that they could overcome the time-release mechanism by crushing and snorting the pill.
Doctors and other medical professionals soon recognized the abuse potential of this drug. They saw their patients get addicted and have trouble coming off of the medication as well as an increase in medication diversion. At the same time, public health officials began seeing a concerning increase in prescription opioid overdoses–most of which involved OxyContin.
Today, many credit OxyContin for the first wave of the opioid crisis. When patients stopped getting prescribed OxyContin, they were still addicted, so many of them turned to illegal opioids like heroin or counterfeit OxyContin pills that were actually laced with fentanyl. Fentanyl is 50-100 times stronger than heroin and morphine, so it is extremely dangerous for people who don’t have a tolerance to strong opioids. Accidentally ingesting fentanyl when you don’t have a tolerance can easily lead to a life-threatening overdose.
Although OxyContin was a major success for Purdue Pharma–accounting for more than 80% of the company’s business at the time–the drug has also come under major public scrutiny due to the misleading advertising as a “non-addictive” opioid. In fact, the FDA has cited Purdue Pharma twice for using potentially false or misleading medical journal advertisements for OxyContin, which violated the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act 1938. Both the Sackler Family and Purdue Pharma have also been forced to pay $6 billion in settlements as a result of various lawsuits brought about by states in the U.S. for OxyContin’s role in the opioid crisis.
Side Effects of OxyContin (Oxycodone)
Like other opioids, OxyContin (oxycodone) relieves pain and is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. This means it slows down bodily functions like breathing, respiration, and heart rate. People who abuse OxyContin may experience respiratory depression, decreased heart rate, and reduced body temperature. They may also experience enhanced side effects.
Common side effects of OxyContin (oxycodone) include:
- Dry mouth
Dangers of Long-Term OxyContin Abuse and Addiction
In 2013, the original formula of OxyContin was discontinued, but the manufacturers developed a crush-resistant formulation of the drug to discourage drug abuse. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean people stopped abusing OxyContin. People still abuse OxyContin and other prescription opioids today. And, many people who get addicted to prescription opioids eventually progress into using stronger, illicit opioids like heroin or fentanyl.
Regular OxyContin abuse can easily lead to addiction and other long-term risks, such as:
- Increased risk of overdose as tolerance increases
- Gastrointestinal problems like constipation, nausea, vomiting, and indigestion
- Sleep apnea worsened by respiratory depression
- Increased risk of heart, kidney, and liver damage
- The development of mood swings, anxiety, or depression
- Cognitive issues such as poor memory and difficulty thinking or concentrating
- Sexual dysfunction in men and irregular menstrual cycles in women
Signs of OxyContin Abuse and Addiction
People who abuse OxyContin may exhibit physical, behavioral, and mental side effects. For example, they will have pinpoint (constricted) pupils while under the influence, may itch their faces or arms a lot, and have slower response times. However, people who are addicted to OxyContin will experience additional symptoms that indicate compulsive, habitual opioid use and dependence.
Common signs and symptoms of OxyContin addiction include:
- Doctor shopping – Visiting multiple doctors, sometimes across state lines, in an attempt to secure multiple opioid prescriptions at one time. This is a common practice among drug users that is known as “doctor shopping.”
- Tolerance – Over time, people who take OxyContin regularly will become less sensitive to the effects of the drug, causing them to begin taking higher doses to feel the same effects as before. This is known as tolerance.
- Physical dependence – As the body becomes less sensitive to OxyContin, it also becomes physically dependent on it. When someone is physically dependent, their body relies on a substance to function normally. If someone who has a physical dependence on OxyContin suddenly stops taking the drug, they will experience symptoms of opioid withdrawal. OxyContin withdrawal symptoms are comparable to the common flu.
- Obsession – Spending excess time thinking about using OxyContin, obtaining it, getting high on it, and recovering from the effects of it are all signs of addiction. This obsession may become so strong that people spend all of their money or do illegal things to get their drugs.
- Cravings – People struggling with OxyContin addiction will experience intense cravings for the drug, especially when the effects wear off or when they run out of pills.
- Compulsion – A common sign of addiction is wanting to stop, but not being able to. This can also look like using OxyContin during inappropriate times or in the wake of a worsening physical or mental health condition. No matter the circumstance, drugs come first.
- Behavioral changes – Lying to friends and family, having sudden mood swings, isolation from loved ones, and loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed are all common signs of prescription opioid addiction.
If you or someone you love is addicted to OxyContin, please speak with a team member at Sheer Recovery today to learn about your treatment options.
OxyContin Withdrawal and Medical Detox
One of the reasons why it is so hard to get sober from OxyContin is because of how uncomfortable oxycodone withdrawal can be. Opioid withdrawal is typically not life-threatening, but symptoms can be so painful that people who detox alone are more likely to return to using opioids than they are to complete the detox process.
Symptoms of OxyContin withdrawal include:
- Watery eyes
- Runny nose
- Body aches
- Muscle and bone pain
- Drug cravings
Oxycodone detox centers in California can prescribe medications like buprenorphine or methadone to alleviate symptoms of withdrawal and reduce the risk of relapse. While you detox, the compassionate clinical team will guide you through holistic therapies and offer 24-hour support, allowing you to detox safely and comfortably.
Treatment for OxyContin Addiction
Detox is only the first step toward recovery. OxyContin addiction is often the outcome of an underlying issue, such as trauma, mental illness, or buried emotions, so you must address the root cause of your substance abuse before you can achieve sobriety. Behavioral therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and psychotherapy are evidence-based treatments that can help you identify and modify any maladaptive behaviors so you don’t have to rely on drugs anymore.
OxyContin addiction can be treated in a variety of settings, including:
- Residential inpatient rehab
- Partial hospitalization program (PHP)
- Intensive outpatient program (IOP)
Sheer Recovery offers personalized care using a 6-bed model. By only treating six clients at a time, we ensure each person receives individually-tailored care based on their needs. Then, when treatment is over, we continue supporting clients who are in early recovery through extensive aftercare programs.
Find Treatment for OxyContin Abuse and Addiction in Orange County, California Today
At Sheer Recovery, we set ourselves apart from other opioid rehab centers in California by offering safe, private, and comfortable treatment in an exclusive residential setting. Our facility offers private and semi-private rooms, relaxing ocean views, and countless amenities that can support your recovery.
Throughout your stay with us, our licensed therapists will gently guide you through group and individual counseling sessions so you can address the driving forces behind your addiction and learn healthy coping mechanisms that you can apply in your daily life. We are wholly dedicated to your safety, privacy, and comfort during treatment, and the compassion extended by our team of expert therapists demonstrates that commitment.
You can start your recovery today by speaking with a qualified admissions coordinator. Call now to get started.