OXYCODONE ADDICTION & TREATMENT
Oxycodone has made headlines over the past decade as a common narcotic implicated in the opioid epidemic. The drug is a powerful Schedule II opioid that is FDA-approved for severe pain. However, as an opioid, it has a high risk of addiction, abuse and dependence and the potential for fatal overdoses. Withdrawal symptoms can be a barrier to those who struggle with oxycodone and want to stop taking the drug. Fortunately, treatment options are available to help people reach an oxycodone-free life.
What is Oxycodone?
Oxycodone is a Schedule II opioid that is FDA-approved for severe pain. It is available in multiple dosage forms and formulations, such as:
- Short-acting oxycodone is available in tablet, capsule and liquid form. The capsules are available in 5 mg doses, while the tablets are available in a variety of doses from 5 mg to 30 mg. Although the short-acting capsule and liquid forms of oxycodone are available as generic drugs only, brand names for the short-acting tablets include Roxicodone and Oxaydo.
- A short-acting oxycodone and aspirin combination is available in a tablet form.
- A short-acting oxycodone and acetaminophen combination is available in both a tablet and liquid form.
- Long-acting oxycodone is available in tablet form under the brand name Oxycontin and in capsule form under the brand name Xtampza ER.
Street names for oxycodone include:
- Hillbilly Heroin
New Jersey Opioid Epidemic
The opioid epidemic has deeply affected New Jersey residents. Between January and July 2020, there were more than 2 million opioid prescriptions filled in New Jersey. Sadly, in the same timeframe, there were also more than 8,700 naloxone administrations for overdoses and more than 1,800 overdose deaths.
Illicit prescription opioids are a particular problem where opioids are illegally prescribed without a medical reason or counterfeited. In February 2020, a doctor was charged for allowing patients to request their own opioid doses, including oxycodone products. One drug bust in August 2020 netting more than $1 million worth of counterfeit drugs. In other cases, oxycodone products have been trafficked into New Jersey from other states, as was the case in a Gloucester City drug ring that was broken up in August 2020.
Oxycodone Side Effects
Oxycodone has side effects similar to those of other opioids. These side effects include:
- Nausea and vomiting
Taking an opioid (like oxycodone) over the long term can cause additional side effects. These include hormonal disturbances involving androgens and can lead to:
- Lack of sex drive
- Impotence or erectile dysfunction
- Menstrual problems
- Fertility difficulties
Signs of Oxycodone Abuse
As a person becomes dependent on an opioid, signs often emerge. Some warning signs of oxycodone abuse include:
- Changes in pupil size
- Sleep schedule changes
- Avoiding old friends and hobbies
- Having relationship problems
- Missing deadlines
- Having problems with responsibilities
- Being unusually financially strained
- Experiencing legal problems
- Having personality or mood changes
Signs of Oxycodone Overdose
Knowing how to respond quickly to signs of an oxycodone overdose can save a life. In 2018 alone, 215 people died from an oxycodone overdose in New Jersey. Symptoms of oxycodone overdose are similar to those of other opioids and include:
- Slowed breathing
- Flaccid muscles
- Cold and clammy skin
- Small pupils
An oxycodone overdose is a medical emergency and can quickly turn deadly. The opioid reversal agent naloxone, sold under the brand name Narcan, can help. If naloxone is available, you should administer it as soon as you suspect an overdose and then seek emergency medical attention. Even if the person who has overdosed starts to rouse, you should still seek medical attention as naloxone can wear off in as few as 30 minutes. When naloxone wears off, the victim may slip back into an overdose.
Some oxycodone products contain other drugs which carry their own risk of toxicity and overdose. For example, oxycodone/acetaminophen products can cause acetaminophen overdose. Acetaminophen overdose is a medical emergency and cannot be reversed by naloxone. Overdosing on acetaminophen can cause permanent liver damage.
Withdrawal from Oxycodone
If you are dependent on oxycodone, stopping the drug cold turkey is not recommended due to a high risk of withdrawal symptoms. If you take short-acting oxycodone, withdrawal symptoms may start 8 to 24 hours after your last dose and may last up to 10 days. Long-acting oxycodone can cause withdrawal symptoms that start 12 to 48 hours after your last dose and may last as long as 20 days. Withdrawal symptoms can include:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Hot or cold flashes
- Muscle cramps
- Runny eyes or nose
Oxycodone withdrawal can be very hard to get through without assistance. Medical help is often necessary to ease your way through withdrawal so you can get oxycodone out of your system as comfortably as possible.
Several forms of drug detox exist that can help you stop taking oxycodone while minimizing withdrawal. Sometimes, a person can slowly taper off oxycodone with a doctor’s help and eventually discontinue the drug. Other people will need medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, with methadone or buprenorphine to avoid the urge to take oxycodone.
People who struggle with oxycodone may benefit from an inpatient drug detox program. In these programs, you can be weaned off oxycodone while receiving round-the-clock medical care. Participating in a drug detox program is especially helpful if you struggle with multiple substances since dependence on multiple drugs can make withdrawal more difficult.
Oxycodone Treatment Options
The staff at The Recovery Village Cherry Hill at Cooper are experts in helping people overcome oxycodone addiction. We have multiple treatment options to help you towards your goal of a new life without oxycodone.
- Medical Detox: You can be weaned off oxycodone in a comfortable setting with round-the-clock medical care from our detox experts.
- Medically Assisted Detox: Your medical team can discuss your options for medically assisted treatment, or MAT, with methadone or buprenorphine to help you overcome your struggle with oxycodone.
- Residential Rehab: Medical detox is the first step of the recovery process. Once your body is cleared of oxycodone, rehab can begin. We offer a comfortable inpatient setting where you can heal from your struggle with oxycodone and learn how to live life without the drug.
- Outpatient Rehab: After residential rehab, you can transition back to the outside world. Outpatient rehab includes therapy to help you adjust to a substance-free life. Teletherapy may also be available.
- Aftercare: After oxycodone rehab is complete, the lifelong process of aftercare begins. Aftercare offers support groups, help with sober living and relapse prevention training.
- Dual Diagnosis: Many people who struggle with oxycodone also suffer from underlying mental health issues. Our therapists can help you overcome both your oxycodone reliance and any underlying mental health problems.
Common questions about oxycodone include:
Oxycodone is an opioid and is, itself, the active ingredient in oxycodone-containing products. Some pain-relieving drugs combine oxycodone with other substances, like acetaminophen or aspirin.
Oxycodone can be short-acting or long-acting and is the active ingredient in products based around it. The long-acting form of the drug is sold under the brand name Oxycontin.
Different people can tolerate different amounts of oxycodone. A lethal oxycodone dose for a person who has never taken an opioid before would likely be far lower than a lethal drug dose for a person who has taken high doses of opioids for years. Mixing opioids like oxycodone with other drugs like benzodiazepines generally makes the dose more dangerous, as well.
Get Help for Oxycodone Addiction
National Institutes of Health. “Street & Commercial Names.” January 17, 2018. Accessed September 21, 2020.
U.S. National Library of Medicine. “Oxycodone and Acetaminophen Tablet.” August 7, 2020. Accessed September 21, 2020.
U.S. National Library of Medicine. “Oxycodone and Acetaminophen Solution.” August 21, 2020. Accessed September 21, 2020.
U.S. National Library of Medicine. “Oxycodone and Aspirin Tablet.” August 7, 2020. Accessed September 21, 2020.
U.S. National Library of Medicine. “Oxycodone Tablet, Extended Release.” April 8, 2019. Accessed September 21, 2020.
U.S. National Library of Medicine. “Oxycodone Capsule.” October 31, 2019. Accessed September 21, 2020.
U.S. National Library of Medicine. “Oxycodone Tablet.” October 23, 2019. Accessed September 21, 2020.
U.S. National Library of Medicine. “Oxycodone Solution.” December 11, 2019. Accessed September 21, 2020.
U.S. National Library of Medicine. “Xtampza ER.” October 10, 2019. Accessed September 21, 2020.
State of New Jersey Department of Law & Public Safety, Office of the Attorney General. “NJ Cares.” Accessed September 21, 2020.
Everett, Rebecca. “Counterfeit pill operation busted at N.J. apartment, $1M in fentanyl seized.” NJ.com, August 8, 2020. Accessed September 21, 2020.
Miller, Allie. “New Jersey doctor, the self-declared ‘El Chapo of Opioids,’ admits to writing illegal narcotics prescriptions.” PhillyVoice, February 25, 2020. Accessed September 21, 2020.
Forline, Anne. “Fourth Person Admits Trafficking High-Dosage Oxycodone Pills Related To Gloucester City Drug Ring.” South Jersey Observer, August 26, 2020. Accessed September 21, 2020.
New Jersey Department of Health. “Confirmed Drug-Related Deaths in New Jersey.” Accessed September 21, 2020.
Indian Health Service. “Warning Signs of Substance and Alcohol Use Disorder.” Accessed September 20, 2020.
Gryczynski, Jan; Schwartz, Robert P; Mitchell, Shannon D; et al. “Hair Drug Testing Results and Self-reported Drug Use among Primary Care Patients with Moderate-risk Illicit Drug Use.” Drug and Alcohol Dependence, May 17, 2014. Accessed September 21, 2020.
ARUP Laboratories. “Drug Plasma Half-Life and Urine Detection Window.” January 2019. Accessed September 21, 2020.
Cansford Laboratories. “Oral Fluid (Saliva) Testing.” Accessed September 21, 2020.
World Health Organization. “Clinical Guidelines for Withdrawal Management and Treatment of Drug Dependence in Closed Settings.” 2009. Accessed September 21, 2020.
Anne Arundel County Department of Health. “Naloxone: Frequently Asked Questions.” September 9, 2019. Accessed September 20, 2020.
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.