OxyContin, The Dangers and the Desires of a Drug

by Dr. Rich on October 21, 2012

OxyContin is a narcotic pain reliever, which is time-released; one tablet contains a higher dose of opiate-based pain reliever, than analgesics that contain only oxycodone. This means one tablet can contain up to 160 mg of oxycodone as opposed to the standard 5mgs, 10mgs, and 15mgs of oxycodone in prescription medications such as Percacet and Percodan. Patients who are prescribed OxyContin for chronic pain, do not need to take medication as often or feel the effects of the medication wearing off as frequently.

OxyContin was heralded as a major breakthrough when it was first introduced. Being time-released, it was able to help control chronic pain much more efficiently and was also seen as being less prone to abuse because the medication was released into the body gradually. For patients with long-term, intense pain, OxyContin was seen as a miracle drug. Doctors felt more comfortable prescribing it and the pharmaceutical company that created it felt certain that it would solve more problems than it created.

Unfortunately, the company that created it and convinced doctors that it was safe to prescribe, failed to realize or disclose that the time-release effects could be circumvented if the pills were crushed and either snorted or dissolved and injected. These practices can put an extremely high dose of the narcotic into the bloodstream immediately, causing an intense high for regular users who are habituated to high doses of the drug, or an overdose for users who have not had the opportunity to become acclimated to high doses. Deaths from overdoses of OcyContin became, at one time, almost epidemic.

While heroin is manufactured strictly for illegal consumption, OxyContin is manufactured in pharmaceutical factories only for prescription use. This makes it much harder to obtain and keeps the price very high, while the purity of the product is unquestionable. For OxyContin to reach the streets, it must be either stolen from a pharmacy or the factory or obtained through prescription, either from a person who obtains it for legitimate chronic pain and is willing to sell some of his or her pills, through fraudulent use of prescriptions or through written prescriptions from ignorant or unconcerned doctors. The chain of people involved in obtaining prescription narcotics is much different than the chain involved in obtaining street drugs such as heroin.

Unfortunately, like any other opiate, OxyContin requires an increase in dosage, over time, to achieve the desired effect. This means more money is needed and more chances are taken in order to obtain the needed amount of drug. It also means that, eventually, the euphoria that was initially experienced when the drug was first used is now being replaced by a need to simply feel well. Ultimately, each and every addict finds himself or herself struggling to simply survive from one dose or fix to the next, while his or her entire life is focused on the drug. From coming up with the needed funds, to finding the right dealer or friend who will supply the drug, to fixing it either for snorting or injection, the addict’s entire life has become ruled by OxyContin.

This is the phase in an addict’s life when decisions need to be made. The addict may decide that the drug is more important than family, friends (who do not use opiates), career, education or social standing, either consciously or unconsciously; or the addict may realize that the addiction has taken over his or her life and needs to be overcome. Even making no decision is a life-altering decision because the addict refuses to take responsibility for his or her actions. Once the drug has become more than just a recreational pastime, it suddenly turns into a lifestyle and an addiction that is all-consuming.

When a decision needs to be made, there is no half-stepping; either the addict chooses to overcome the addiction or not. This is a “yes” or “no” decision. Either the addict chooses to fight or gives in, totally, to the addiction. There is no, “cutting down” and no, “using less.” These thoughts only mean that the addict is choosing the addiction as his or her lifestyle.

Once an addict decides that withdrawal from the Oxycontin is the only path that means having a real life, free of addiction and pain and the constant need to obtain and take drugs, there is help available. There are clinics available to help the addict make it through withdrawal, and beyond the constant craving to return to the addiction. There is individual and group therapy available; there is counseling for the addict’s family and friends and there are centers that specialize in methadone treatment, if necessary, to help addicts recover and step into a life that is fulfilling without illegal drugs, alcohol or other dysfunctional crutches.

Becoming addicted to Oxycontin is fairly easy. Beating the addiction is long and painful. Living a life beyond addiction is worth every bit of pain and sweat involved. Life without addiction is possible; it just takes some help from the right resources and determination.

 

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