Oxycodone Recreational Use Can Cause Addiction & Severe Consequences
Created at the University of Frankfurt in 1916, Oxycodone is a synthetic opioid made from an alkaloid in the opium poppy. It has historically been prescribed to treat severe pain and is effective.
Unfortunately, this potent medication, which is in the same family as heroin, has been misused in recent years and not taken as prescribed.
- Opioids are highly addictive substances and have caused addiction rates to lead to epidemic levels in the United States and worldwide.
As a recreational drug, Oxycodone and other opioid medications such as oxycontin and hydrocodone took off in the early 1990s when pharmaceutical companies marketed their painkillers for short-term pain relief.
Even though many people started using opioids like Oxycodone as prescribed for pain by a doctor, they became addicted and began using it recreationally or illegally. That’s because they liked the high and the way it made them feel, or to avoid the painful withdrawal symptoms.
By 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), doctors wrote an estimated 250 million opioid prescriptions, enough for every adult in the country to have a bottle.
Depending on the prescription, Oxycodone comes in several different doses, including:
- 10mg to 30 mg immediate-release pills, taken every four hours
- 20 mg to 640 mg in controlled release formula, taken once every 12 hours
- The average daily oxycodone dosage is around 105 mg a day
There are several factors users take into consideration when using Oxycodone recreationally. No standards exist for the right or even approximate dosage. Each individual responds differently.
First-time users should be careful until they know how their body chemistry responds to the medication.
Over time, both legal prescription users and illegal recreational users build a tolerance to the drug and find that more is needed to achieve the actual results. It is one of the biggest reasons why opioids are so addictive.
The dangers of opioid overdose are a reality. Too much of the drug at a high enough dose suppresses the cardiovascular system, causing labored breathing and even death.
A staggering number of people have died from heroin and prescription opioids, like Oxycodone. According to the CDC, in 2015 alone, 33,000 people died from an opioid overdose.
Oxycodone, like other opioids, comes in a time-release formula meant to provide longer-lasting relief from pain, as well as a safeguard to make it more difficult for people to abuse it recreationally.
The most common recreational use is orally ingesting more than the recommended oxycodone dosage.
Some users have developed workarounds on time-release pills. For example, by crushing and snorting them or taking the powder, diluting it with water, and injecting it intravenously, recreational users get the drug’s full effect without the time-release element.
The dangers associated with this kind of usage are accurate. Time-release and tamper-proof tablets contain binders, which make it difficult to isolate the opioid by itself.
Heating oxycodone to inhale the vapors by smoking it is also very dangerous. Though smoking brings on a fast-acting, brief high, the other pills’ other chemicals are likely to irritate and even harm the respiratory system.
There are no standards, as it relates to recreational use, that exist for measuring the length of a person’s experience. However, there are ways to measure how long oxycodone stays in the system.
Several factors may determine how long the effects last:
- The amount or dose ingested
- A person’s tolerance level for the drug
Because Oxycodone acts like other opioids, it changes the brain’s response to pain. It floods the brain’s receptors with dopamine, a feel-good chemical the body produces naturally. In some users, this brings on a sense of wellbeing and calmness.
Other recreational users report a slight increase in focus and awareness. It is due to norepinephrine released in the brain. Unfortunately, it is also one reason some recreational users experience opiate-induced insomnia.
Hydrocodone, another synthetic opioid from a different alkaloid in the poppy, produces similar results.
Because Oxycodone is a controlled substance, possession of the opioid painkiller without a legitimate prescription is illegal.
Regular opioid use, whether recreational or medicinal, comes with a wave of unpleasant and even dangerous side effects.
The Negative Side Effects of Oxycodone Can Include:
- Low blood pressure
- Severe constipation
- Drowsiness, dizziness, and weakness
- Decreased libido
- Confusion and nervousness
- Depression and anxiety
- Loss of appetite
- Death from overdose due to respiratory depression
Opioid addiction is treatable, but the painful withdrawal symptoms are difficult to overcome, and a solid psychological dependence makes relapse common even after withdrawal symptoms have subsided.
Addiction to Oxycodone is a severe risk.
Though public awareness of the opioid crisis in the U.S. is a mental health issue, we still have a long way to go before the general public understands that addiction is a disease and not a moral failing.
Fortunately, the stigma of addiction is slowly fading, and more people are reaching out for professional treatment help.