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Current Issues in OxyContin Use

Current Issues in OxyContin Use

OxyContin has been considered to be the most widely abused prescription drug as of late. OxyContin should be prescribed for the treatment of chronic or severe pain, but is easily handed to those with moderate to severe levels of pain. Overly prescribed and with high-abuse potential, OxyContin’s intense side effects attract many recreational users. The drug relieves pain and produces a euphoric state for both mind and body.

Originally, OxyContin was designed as a time-release drug, which means it would continuously release the drug over several hours; however, individuals found that crushing or injecting OxyContin would increase the drug’s effects, producing an overpowering high almost immediately. The overwhelming side effects of OxyContin as well as the tolerance building capabilities have lead to a major epidemic in the drug’s abuse and addiction rates. OxyContin abuse exploded for recreational users as well as those prescribed to the drug for medical purposes. The drug has become especially popular for the “party crowd” and is often combined with alcohol.

Controversy over OxyContin Leads to Drug Re-Manufacturing

Recently, the issues of OxyContin abuse have been addressed due to the many related illnesses, injuries, overdoses and deaths that have been reported. A new version of the drug has been re-manufactured in hopes to deter individuals from abuse. The new OxyContin pill is harder for individuals to crush, and the matter now transforms to a gel-like or gummy substance that is difficult to snort, chew or inject. This prevents users from achieving that intense, immediate high. Now, obtaining that original OxyContin high has become too much work or is too costly for users; a single pill can run from $20-$30, and having to use multiple pills to create a dramatic high can get pricy. While the development on new OxyContin pills has decreased the drug’s abuse, many recreational abusers are simply switching to other oxycodone substances or harder drugs like heroin.

OxyContin Abuse Demographics and Statistics

OxyContin was once commonly referred to as “hillbilly heroin” because its abuse was frequent for those in rural areas. Now, the demographics for OxyContin abuse are much harder to pinpoint. Individuals from all geographic locations are involved in OxyContin abuse and age, gender, race and occupation do not make up a single target demographic. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health has reported the following:

  • In 2009 16 million Americans aged 12 and older had used a pain reliever for non-medicinal purpose
  • In 2008 the number of new non-medical OxyContin users aged 12 and older was at half a million people
  • Close to 5 percent of 12th graders are reported to have tried OxyContin for non-medicinal purposes

The Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) has found the following:

  • In 2009, more than 1.2 million people received emergency treatment for non-medicinal prescription drug abuse
  • OxyContin is the cause for close to 1,000 deaths per year
  • Around 20 thousand emergency room visits every year are OxyContin related

Having Problems with OxyContin Use? Find Help Now

If you are concerned that you or a loved one may have a problem with OxyContin, please call this toll-free helpline now. You can speak directly with a professional addiction counselor 24 hours a day to learn more. Counselors are ready to assist you with all of your questions and concerns about OxyContin use, addiction and treatment, and they can even help you find quality recovery programs. We are focused on providing assistance for anyone struggling with OxyContin use, and if you need help – we are here. Call us today.