Oxycodone is an opioid medication typically prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain. It’s made from thebaine, which is a chemical derived from the Asian poppy plant, and works by attaching to the opioid receptors in the brain responsible for feeling pain. The medication comes in an extended-release pill form, and the drug’s effects are gradually released throughout a 12-hour period. As a result, this medication isn’t meant to be used on an as-needed basis to treat pain. Many people obtain this drug illegally or abuse their prescriptions.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than five million Americans abused painkillers like Oxycodone in 2010, and more than 50 percent obtained these drugs without a prescription. Furthermore, many people who abuse these medications have found alternative methods of consumption including injecting the drug to intensify the high. Read on to find out more about the health risks of Oxycodone use and the dangers of injecting this medication.
Health Risks of Oxycodone Use
Oxycodone often produces side effects in users including feelings of euphoria, dry mouth, sweating, fatigue, vomiting, constipation, dizziness and anxiety. People who abuse the drug by taking higher doses, or snort or inject the medication, may experience other side effects including loss of appetite, abdominal pain, difficulty urinating and diarrhea. Some may also experience more severe side effects such as difficulty breathing, blood circulation issues, coma and death. Heavy or chronic users of this drug may become dependent and develop withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit. These withdrawal symptoms include depression, anxiety, headache, panic attacks, nausea, vomiting, difficulty sleeping, fever and muscle pain and weakness.
Dangers of Injecting Oxycodone
People who inject Oxycodone typically crush up the pills and mix the powder with water or alcohol. Injecting Oxycodone is extremely dangerous because the drug’s effects, which were meant to be felt over a 12-hour period, are felt at once. This may even cause the heart to stop, resulting in sudden death. Injecting Oxycodone may also produce intense feelings of euphoria, which increases the risk of dependency and addiction. People who inject this medication are more likely to experience side effects including poor motor control skills, headaches, dizziness, nausea and vomiting. They may also engage in dangerous behaviors under the effects of the drug such as driving or unprotected sex, which may lead to car accidents and sexually transmitted diseases respectively.
The drug also lowers the blood pressure and heart rate, which may cause a person to slip into a coma or suffer permanent brain damage. Many people who abuse this drug suffer from memory problems while under the effects of Oxycodone, and may accidentally overdose because they forget they’ve already taken the medication. Long-term use of injecting any drug may lead to infections, collapsed veins and permanent scars. Those who share needles may also become infected with blood-transferred diseases, including HIV/AIDS.
If you or a loved one is suffering from an Oxycodone addiction, it may be difficult to quit without medical assistance. This medication may be as addicting as other opiates including heroin, and quitting can be accompanied by unpleasant and sometimes dangerous withdrawal symptoms. To find out more about treatment options and getting help, please call the substance abuse hotline at 800-447-9081.