When is OxyContin Not Safe?

When is OxyContin Not Safe?

When taken as directed by a physician, OxyContin (oxycodone) is a very effective and safe prescription pain reliever used to treat moderate to severe pain. The time-release formulation provides for sustained pain relief over a period of 12 hours. Additionally, there are few oxycodone side effects compared to other narcotic analgesics.

Addiction to prescription drugs is rapidly growing in America. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) estimates that the number of people abusing prescription drugs has risen approximately 80 percent in the last 6 years alone. The ready accessibility of these drugs and their perceived safeness has made them more popular than many illicit drugs.

When individuals begin to use oxycodone in ways that are not prescribed by a doctor, however, this drug becomes more dangerous. OxyContin has a high risk of physical dependency when abused. Individuals who abuse this drug often crush the OxyContin pills to remove the time-release coating and enable an immediate rush upon ingestion or injection. The rush is similar to that of heroin and can be just as addictive and deadly.

Long-term use can also cause OxyContin addition. Over time, the body can build a tolerance to this drug, which means a higher dosage will be required to produce the same effect. Tolerance contributes to physical dependence. When individuals are physically dependent on a drug, they will experience withdrawal symptoms when they are unable to take it. OxyContin withdrawal is similar to that of heroin withdrawal with such symptoms as nausea, vomiting, body aches and sweating. These symptoms can be so severe that people who are addicted will go to any lengths to buy OxyContin.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/14/us/14florida.html?ref=us

Click here to read the next part in the series, "What is Hydrocodone?" Click here to return to the first part in the series, "Introduction to Oxycodone Abuse, Addiction and Treatment."

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