BASIC FACTS ABOUT OXYCONTIN
What is OxyContin?
OxyContin is the brand name for an opioid analgesic containing the active
ingredient Oxycodone (also found in Percoset and Percodan). OxyContin is a legal
narcotic (or a controlled substance) that is available, by prescription, to
treat severe pain. OxyContin is a controlled-release medication that, when used
correctly, provides extended relief of pain associated with cancer, back pain,
However, often when the drug is abused, the tablets are crushed and snorted,
chewed, or mixed with water and injected- eliminating the time-release factor
and allowing for a quick and intense rush to the brain. This practice can lead
to overdosing on OxyContin's active ingredient, oxycodone, by releasing too much
of the medication into the bloodstream too quickly. OxyContin is highly
addictive - so higher doses of the drug must be taken when a tolerance develops.
Illicit users of the drug have risen drastically and steadily over the last few
What are the street names?
OxyContin is also known as Oxy, OxyCotton, Oxy 80 (for the 80mg dose), or OC
What does OxyContin look like?
OxyContin most commonly exists in tablet form. These round pills come in
10mg, 20mg, 40mg, and 80mg dosages. OxyContin also comes in capsule or liquid
How is it taken?
When used correctly, prescribed patients take the pill orally every 12 hours
as needed (most pain relievers last only 3-6 hours). Those who abuse OxyContin
remove the time-release coating on the pills. Often the pills are crushed and
the powder is snorted, chewed, or cooked to inject.
The most serious risk associated with OxyContin, is respiratory depression.
Because of this, OxyContin should not be combined with other substances that
slow down breathing, such as alcohol, antihistamines (like some cold or allergy
medication), barbiturates, or benzodiazepines. Other common side effects include
constipation, nausea, sedation, dizziness, vomiting, headache, dry mouth,
sweating, and weakness. Toxic overdose and/or death can occur by taking the
tablet broken, chewed, or crushed. People who abuse the drug (by removing the
time-release coating) will experience effects for up to 5 hours. The high that
is felt is opiate-like - a sedate, euphoric feeling.
Using OxyContin chronically can result in increased tolerance to the drug in
which higher doses of the medication must be taken to receive the initial
effect. Over time, OxyContin will be come physically addictive, causing a person
to experience withdrawal symptoms when the drug is not present.
Symptoms of withdrawal include restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia,
diarrhea, vomiting, cold flashes with goose bumps, and involuntary leg
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