Oxycontin was first introduced in 1995. It is a Schedule II controlled drug used in the treatment of severe pain disorders. Oxycontin is a long acting form of Oxycodone, the medication’s active ingredient. Today, various forms of oxycontin are available.
The drug is a powerful pain killer and widely used in clinical medicine. Because of its mood altering effects, Oxycontin, like morphine, can be abused become an addiction. Illegal possession can be subject to criminal prosecution. Over the past decade, Oxycontin has become a popular drug and its mood altering effects has led to a significant increase in illegal usage and addiction.
Besides pain, oxycontin can decrease anxiety, cause euphoria, mental relaxation, constipation, and suppression of cough. It can also be used to treat moderate to severe pain associated with trauma, injuries, muscle pain, dislocations, fractures, arthritis, lower back pain, and pain associated with cancer. Because of the potency of Oxycontin, the ease of its addiction, and potentially serious side effects, the drug has to be monitored by a qualified professional. Treatment should be continuously assessed and adjusted based upon the patient’s own reports of pain and side effects and the physician’s clinical judgment of addiction. Since the drug is a controlled substance, a prescription is required to obtain it. Today, it is the most frequently prescribed pain killer in North America.
Since the introduction of Oxycontin in 1995, there has been a dramatic increase in abuse and addiction of this narcotic. The drug is easily abused by simply crushing the tablets and either injecting it, snorting or swallowing it. The drug can have serious side effects when injected as it has a prolonged effect that can’t always be gauged correctly.
Oxycontin is frequently made more available by “doctor shopping,” where individuals, who do not have a legitimate illness, repeatedly visit many doctors to acquire large amounts of controlled substances. Other methods of obtaining oxycontin include robbery, fake/stolen prescriptions, the internet and improper prescribing practices by physicians and doctors.
Recent reports indicate that the abuse of Oxycontin is relatively high among teenagers. The increased misuse of the drug has led to a numerous emergency room admissions and even deaths. Many States have introduced legislation to decrease the illegal use of Oxycontin. Numerous States have also introduced prescription monitoring and banned the sale of the drug over the internet. Despite all the increased efforts by the FDA, DEA, and state/local authorities, the illegal use and addiction of Oxycontin is at an all time high. Over the last decade the increased illicit use of oxycontin has led to the manufacture of “fake” oxycontin pills all over North America.
Stopping the use of Oxycontin suddenly or “cold turkey” can result in serious withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms may include restlessness, anxiety, yawning, perspiration, and chills. Other symptoms also may develop; include irritability, vague pain, weakness, abdominal cramps, insomnia, nausea, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, or increased blood pressure, respiratory rate, or heart rate.
Like other narcotics, oxycontin can be fatal at high doses or when combined with other brain depressants such as alcohol.