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Oxycodone Abuse: Beyond Pain Management

Oxycodone Abuse: Beyond Pain Management

Using pain medication like oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, meperidine and morphine to treat chronic pain is more popular than ever. According to a statistical analysis of studies conducted by the Drug Enforcement Agency, retail sales of these medications rose 88% between 1997 and 2005. Oxycodone sales rose the most, increasing 6 times during that time-period.

With the increased abundance of prescription painkillers, abuse of those drugs has also risen. Today, prescription drug abuse is one of the most common types of substance abuse in the nation, second only to marijuana use. Oxycodone is one of the most commonly abused painkillers. It comes in a variety of forms with Percocet and OxyContin the most popular. Oxycodone is sometimes called “hillbilly heroin” because of its early popularity in the Appalachian region. Now, it is commonly used and abused throughout all regions of the country.

There are two types of people who abuse oxycodone—those who began as prescription users and those who began as recreational user. Only a small percentage of those who take oxycodone medication under a physician’s supervision will become addicted to the drug. Those who begin taking oxycodone recreationally are more likely to become addicted. The reason behind this is simple. Dosage instructions for prescription use are intended to minimize physical dependency and provide pain management without producing a “high” from the drug. Recreational use of oxycodone is intended to produce a “high.” That “high” makes it much more likely for users to both become physically dependent and crave the drug when not using.


Click here to read the next part in the series, “Oxycodone vs. OxyContin.” Click here to return to the first part in the series, “Introduction to Oxycodone Abuse, Addiction and Treatment.”

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