OxyContin is a drug that is administered in pill form. The actual drug name is oxycodone and OxyContin is a brand name for the pills that are produced by Purdue Pharma.
OxyContin is considered a narcotic painkiller and is in a class of drugs called opiates because it contains chemicals called opioids which bind with particular opioid receptors in our brain. Other drugs that are opiates include:
- Vicodin (brand name for a drug with active ingredieant hydrocodone)
- Percodan (also contains oxycodone)
- Percocet (also contains oxycodone)
How OxyContin is Taken
OxyContin is a “time release tablet” that is intended to be taken orally. The “time release” formulation means that it gradually releases the medication over the course of 12 hours.
OxyContin is also widely abused by people who crush the tablet and either:
a) take it intranasally (sniffing or “snorting” it up their nose)
b) take it intravenously (mixing with water and then injecting it into their veins with a needle)
What OxyContin Feels Like
Accounts vary slightly on what taking OxyContin feels like because everyone is different. Most people report a sensation of euphoria and strong sense of well being. There is often a “warm and fuzzy happiness” associated with opiates.
What OxyContin Withdrawal Feels Like
Unfortunately the euphoric sense of well being is chemically induced and once the drug wears off, there is a sense of irritation and discomfort (often accompanied by a feeling of sadness).
Tolerance and Addiction
As the OxyContin user continues their addiction, their tolerance goes up so that the benefits are less and more of the drug is required to feel the “high.” Conversely the withdrawal symptoms become more pronounced too. The person who is in withdrawal from opiates and is accustomed to using large doses can be in unbearable pain, shaking violently, vomiting and having uncontrollable diarrhea.
What’s tragic about addiction to OxyContin and other opiates is that most users who have habitually been taking the drug for more than a few months report that instead of really feeling “high” from the drug, it is more like feeling “normal.” The drug is obsessively sought out mainly to “maintain” normalcy and prevent the onslaught of unbearable withdrawal symptoms.
The Best of Intentions Gone Awry
OxyContin may have been created with the best of intentions – to kill pain. OxyContin can benefit the person who is in chronic and long lasting pain – perhaps in recovery from a surgery or coping with an injury. That is, if this person is not prone to becoming physically and mentally dependent on the drug.
Unfortunately, OxyContin is incredibly addictive and habit forming. Users who are legitimately prescribed the drug often find themselves reliant upon it in a very short time. This can lead to addictive behaviors like doctor shopping and abusing other medications.
More commonly, users in the United States have been getting hooked on OxyContin without prescription. Many of these users are younger people of high school and college age. OxyContin being a prescription medication may cause it to seem much more innocent than a drug like heroin. Unfortunately both are opiates and produce similar “highs.”
There has been a wave of heroin addiction sweeping the United States in recent years and drugs like OxyContin are very often a gateway. Websites like this are created to raise awareness about the dangers of OxyContin.
Heroin Hits Home Video (Chronicling the phenomenon of Oxy users switching to deadly heroin)
The OxyContin Express Video (Describes the phenomenon of “doctor shopping” and the illicit industry that has sprung up around this)