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One of the most common addictions these days is the addiction to prescription drugs. One of the most frequently abused of those is the opioid Oxycontin, sometimes referred to simply as “oxy.” Just like morphine and heroin, it is made from the poppy.

Oxycontin is one formulation of the drug oxycodone and is designed to provide slow-release or time-release effects to the user. It can release its dose for up to 12 hours from the time it is taken, differing from many other opioids that only last up to about 6 hours. 

This extended duration is one of the reasons that Oxycontin addiction has skyrocketed. Oxycontin is originally prescribed for pain relief, particularly for chronic pain. This level of chronic pain would be for illnesses like cancer. This leads to it being taken for long periods, giving it a high potential for abuse. 

Generally, the pills are taken as pills, but that may not be the case in severe abuse or addiction. In extreme cases, the user may crush the pill to bypass the time-release function. This can include chewing, crushing, snorting, or injecting, like many other opioids.

What is an Oxycontin High?

Oxycontin changes how your body and brain respond to pain. When someone is prescribed Oxycontin for legitimate pain control, they usually do not experience the same type of “high” that an addict does when they abuse it. However, once the user has developed a dependency on Oxycontin, they will receive an immediate euphoric effect and a pleasant and relaxing high that follows and lasts for 8 to 12 hours.

If someone abuses Oxycontin, they will often display signs similar to those of other opioid addictions. Some of the commonly seen effects are mostly related to the function of opioids as central nervous system depressants.

Effects of Oxycontin abuse include:

  • slow or weak movement abilities
  • extreme sleepiness or drowsiness
  • feelings of extreme detachment and escape from powerful psychological ties.
  • slurred speech of varying degrees
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Users also begin to feel a reduced appetite while using, and with the long release period of Oxycontin, it can quickly become a chronic issue. If the user takes too much, it can cause acute vomiting and persistent nausea while active in the system. This can contribute to both sudden and long-term undesired weight loss.

Other symptoms include:

  • lethargy
  • dizziness
  • a state of confusion
  • itching that is not explained by any other illness or skin issue

Side Effects of an Oxycontin High

There are a significant number of dangerous and unhealthy side effects that can occur with acute, long-term, or heavy use. Some of these are reversible, but sometimes there are adverse health effects that cannot be stopped or reversed.

Snorting

When the drug is crushed to a sufficient degree, it can be snorted and inhaled similarly to cocaine. Therefore, when insufflated, Oxycontin is absorbed much more quickly than through digestion. The speedy passage of Oxycontin into the bloodstream allows for much faster onset of the effects.

When users are frequent abusers of Oxycontin and use it in this way, there is a greatly increased chance of chronic sinus infections. Also, the sensitive nasal tissue can be damaged over longer periods with prolonged use. This breakdown of nasal tissue can significantly damage the nasal cavity itself, sometimes leading to tissue death or necrosis.

Injecting

Injecting Oxycontin can have even more dangerous effects. These users crush the pills and mix the residue with water so that it can be injected directly into their bodies. Oxycontin is often injected into skin, muscle, or veins.

This injection drug use is incredibly dangerous and carries unique and possibly deadly risks. Injecting Oxycontin can lead to blood-borne pathogens being introduced to otherwise healthy people. This includes the risk of hepatitis, HIV, and other diseases. It’s estimated that up to ten percent of all new HIV/AIDS infections can be directly linked to injection drug use. 

The danger of overdose is also greater with injected drugs. This is because dosages are much harder to estimate if the drug is being injected instead of swallowed. This can lead to overdoses in new users in particular. Another risk comes from the small bits of crushed pill that can cause circulation problems and even kidney damage.

Overdose Symptoms

If you believe that you or a loved one may have overdosed on Oxycontin, there are some signs to look for in the user. Seek medical attention immediately for these symptoms:

  • Racing heart
  • Excessive or unexplained sweating
  • Muscle weakness
  • New or sudden difficulty in breathing
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Seizures
  • Blueish coloration to the fingertips or lips

Do not delay seeking treatment for any of these symptoms. The person overdosing will need significant medical help and likely need to be admitted to the hospital for more observation.

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What to Do If Addicted to an Oxycontin High

When Oxycontin is taken without medical supervision, even when prescribed, it can lead to a powerful addiction and dependence. When this dependence begins to take over your loved one’s life or begins to take its toll on their health or finances, they must be able to rely on a support network. 

The users must know that when this sickness is confronted and addressed without shame or judgment, the chances of success are much greater. Furthermore, the chances are even higher when the user understands the dangers and eventual results of their abuse and accepts help.

Working with an experienced and professional treatment facility may be the most beneficial for everyone involved. Not only do many facilities offer tailored inpatient and outpatient treatment plans, but they will also help teach the user effective strategies for staying sober.

If you are ready to dismantle the powerful grip that addiction can have on your life and well-being, the time to get help is now. Reach out to a premier inpatient rehab who can give you the support, encouragement, and guidance you need to create the future you’ve always dreamed about today. 

Sources:

Infinite Recovery has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations for our references. We avoid using tertiary references as our sources. You can learn more about how we source our references by reading our editorial guidelines and medical review policy.

  1. World Health Organization. People who inject drugs. Accessed June 26, 2022. https://www.who.int/teams/global-hiv-hepatitis-and-stis-programmes/populations/people-who-inject-drugs
Amanda Stevens, BS

Medical Content Writer

Amanda Stevens, BS

Amanda is a prolific medical content writer specializing in eating disorders and addiction treatment. She graduated Magnum Cum Laude from Purdue University with a B.S. in Social Work. As a person in recovery from disordered eating, she is passionate about seeing people heal and transform. She writes for popular treatment centers such as Ocean Recovery, Ascendant NY, The Heights Treatment, Epiphany Wellness, New Waters Recovery and adolescent mental health treatment center BasePoint Academy. In her spare time she loves learning about health, nutrition, meditation, spiritual practices, and enjoys being the a mother of a beautiful daughter.

Last medically reviewed June 26, 2022

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