Oxycodone is a commonly prescribed opioid (pain-relieving drug). Unfortunately, if patients stop taking or cut back on this powerful analgesic after extended heavy use, they will likely have a number of withdrawal symptoms. And, if patients take it more often or take it in a way that is different than prescribed, the risk of addiction or death by overdose is greatly increased. Nonetheless, recovery is possible in nearly every case; this is where detox, rehab and aftercare enter.1
Individual paths to recovery differ, and packages of treatments and supportive services for mental and substance use disorders should be tailored to fit individual needs. For many people with behavioral health problems, the most effective approach often involves a combination of counseling and medication. Supportive services, such as case or care management, can also play an important role in promoting lasting health and recovery.2
How Is Oxycodone Sold?
While oxycodone is sold under many names, OxyContin® is the brand name most often identified with this potent narcotic. Percocet®, which contains both oxycodone and acetaminophen, is one of the more frequently sold mixed-ingredient analgesics.
When sold on the street, oxycodone goes by many nicknames, including: Hillbilly heroin, kicker, OC, ox, oxy, perc, roxy. Naturally, caution should be taken concerning any legal or illicit drugs bought from street drug dealers; such dispensers and their products are not regulated and are only out for what can bring them the most profit with the least effort.3
How Is Oxycodone Abused?
Oxycodone is abused orally or intravenously. The tablets are crushed and sniffed or dissolved in water and injected. Other users heat a tablet that has been placed on a piece of foil then inhale the vapors. Users seeking a more readily available substance with effects similar to opium, codeine, heroin, methadone, hydrocodone, fentanyl or morphine may choose to abuse oxycodone. Oxycodone products are in Schedule II of the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970.4
What Are the Effects of Oxycodone Products?
Euphoria and feelings of relaxation are the most common effects of oxycodone on the brain, which explains its high potential for abuse.
Some of the physiological effects of oxycodone include: Pain relief, sedation, respiratory depression, constipation and cough suppression. Extended use of oxycodone and acetaminophen has been found to cause severe liver damage in many users.
Overdose effects include: Extreme drowsiness, muscle weakness, confusion, cold and clammy skin, pinpoint pupils, shallow breathing, slow heart rate, fainting, coma and possible death.3
Rehabilitation: Learning a New Lifestyle Following Detox
Rehabilitation programs begin, in a technical sense, when detoxification ends. In a detox program, individuals suffering from a substance use disorder have the challenge of “getting clean” of oxycodone. This purging is just the first step on a journey toward healing and wholeness; the rehab program provides patients with the tools they need in order to reach that destination. Many elements go into making a quality rehab program; it is best if all the various needs of the patient are provided in an comprehensive and integrated fashion under one roof, including detox, rehab and follow-up aftercare services.2
Addiction treatment programs are typically offered in an outpatient or inpatient/residential format.
Round-the-Clock Supervision and Support
With inpatient programs, addicts live in the treatment facility. They are typically not allowed to leave the grounds of the treatment facility. It is a targeted, intensive, controlled environment that allows people struggling with addiction to step away from the stress and temptation that exist in the familiar outside world. In this setting, patients can focus 24/7 on their top priority: their own healing.2
Outpatient Treatment is an Option
Some people in addiction may be unable to commit to an inpatient treatment program like this. They might have:
- Childcare concerns
- Financial limitations or lack of insurance coverage
- Strong family bonds and responsibilities
- Lack of paid time off from work or other employment concerns
With a strong and supportive family or friend network, as well as a drive to succeed, this group may benefit from an outpatient addiction treatment program. In an outpatient program,they receive care periodically while continuing to live at home. In some programs, patients go to meetings or counseling sessions all day, every day. In other programs, those enrolled participates in these activities on a weekly or monthly basis. Either route, if pursued with determination and accountability, can result in significant improvement.2
Professional counseling can help patients eliminate destructive patterns, develop positive thinking and practice healthy lifestyle changes. Therapy — provided by trained psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers and trained counselors —seeks to change behaviors, thoughts, emotions and how people see and understand situations.2
Prescription medications can also be an important resource for treating mental and substance use disorders in certain circumstances. Significant relief is possible, and symptoms may be managed to the point where people can use other strategies to pursue recovery.
Since the brain can develop a tolerance to oxycodone – causing the brain to clamor for the drug when it is removed, also known as drug dependence — a strong desire for the drug can persist long after detox is done. For this reason, many oxycodone addiction rehab programs include treatment medications.
Methadone and buprenorphine are medications commonly used to treat opioid addiction, like oxycodone addiction. Another medication, naltrexone,can effectively counteract an opioid overdose. All of these drugs act on the same receptors used by opioids; they fool the brain into thinking it has access to the drug it craves, despite the fact that it does not produce any actual high or rush.5
RehabThat Treats Whole Person
Addiction may have its roots in other aspects of the addict’s life. For example, some people may turn to oxycodone after the loss of a job, a downturn in financial stability, or out of despair about a damaged relationship. Even though detox may get patients clean, the issues that propelled them to take drugs usually don’t just disappear. Comprehensive programs are designed to deal with all of the various, impactful issues that might be keeping patients from returning to the real world in a healthy and productive way, such as employment, housing, child care, education, health care and social skills.2
Quality Rehab Is Worth the Effort
Individual paths to recovery differ, so packages of treatments and supportive services for mental and substance use disorders should be tailored to fit the needs of each specific patient. Rehab centers can vary considerably from one to another. Taking the time to evaluate what a rehab center offers and its success rate is invaluable when your or a loved one’s health and happiness is on the line.
If you’d like more information on oxycodone, addiction,detox, rehab or aftercare services, call Michael’s House at our 24/7 toll-free line. Take the first step on your journey to a new and better life. We want to help…because we care.
1 “Opiate and Opioid Withdrawal.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine. 20 April 2016. Web. Accessed 13 June 2017.
2 “Behavioral Health Treatments and Services.” Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. 19 April 2017. Web. Accessed 13 June 2017.
3 “Oxycodone.” Drug Fact Sheet, Drug Enforcement Administration. Web. Accessed 13 June 2017.
4 “Oxycodone.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 15 January 2017. Web. Accessed 13 June 2017.
5 Volkow, Nora D., M.D., Director of NIDA, “America’s Addiction to Opioids: Heroin and Prescription Drug Abuse.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, Presentation to the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control. 14 May 2014. Web. Accessed 13 June 2017.
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