Curious to know some oxycodone abuse facts? Here is a primer on what you need to know about this prescription painkiller and why its use is potentially harmful.
- Oxycodone has a chemical structure similar to heroin. In fact, the only difference is that oxycodone has three extra oxygen molecules bound to it. Therefore, oxycodone and heroin have the same effect in the brain, resulting in pain reduction, a feeling of euphoria, and the potential for addiction. Oxycodone is considered a “gateway drug” to heroin because heroin is cheaper and easier to get, but provides the same effect.
- Oxycodone is now tamper-proof. When oxycodone first hit the market (brand name OxyContin), people would crush the pills and snort or inject them for a quicker high. With the addition of naloxone, a compound that renders oxycodone useless when crushed, the pills can no longer be abused in this way, thus potentially reducing overdose deaths.
- More than 2.4 million people in the U.S. are estimated to have used oxycodone and other prescription painkillers non-medically for the first time in the last year. This points to a widespread problem of people who are potentially addicted to their prescription painkillers or who don’t understand the dangers associated with prescription drug abuse.
- Oxycodone overdose is treatable. Many police officers, ambulances and first responders now carry naloxone in order to stop an oxycodone overdose in its tracks. Members of the public may also obtain naloxone.
- Oxycodone addiction is treatable. Of all the oxycodone abuse facts, this one is most important. Whether you became addicted after being prescribed oxycodone for a legitimate condition or you have abused it recreationally to get high, treatment programs are available and have good success rates.
Have these oxycodone abuse facts surprised you? Oxycodone abuse may be widespread, but help for prescription drug abuse is available to those who are ready to be free of the clutches of addiction. Resources: https://www.drugabuse.gov/about-nida/legislative-activities/testimony-to-congress/2016/americas-addiction-to-opioids-heroin-prescription-drug-abuse