Over the past decade, we have been witnesses to the dramatic increase of opioid abuse. While addiction has been at the core of society for several decades, the worst of the problem has only recently emerged. In 2016, 66,632 drug overdose deaths occurred n the United States. This showed a 21.5 percent increase from 2015. These numbers are due largely in part to information pharmaceutical reps provided doctors about their products not being addictive. Doctors began prescribing at a rate that was unfathomable and created an entire decade of pain and suffering.
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Millions of people around the country suffer from chronic pain and are prescribed opioids manage their condition. From 1999 to 2016, more than 200,000 people died in the United States from overdoses related to prescription opioids. The active drug in OxyContin, oxycodone, is prescribed for moderate to severe pain after a surgery or injury. It is a very powerful opioid drug that can lead users to begin using heroin. In 2017, there were 58 opioid prescriptions written for every 100 American’s. More than 17 percent of American’s had at least one opioid prescription filled.
Rural areas in the United States have been hit especially hard, and this was never more evident than hospitals not being able to deal with the number of babies born with opioid withdrawal. The article includes a chilling quote that includes, “the opioid epidemics youngest victims haven’t yet been born.” This puts into perspective the reality thousands of American’s are facing across the country. Whether it’s a friend, family member or even yourself, it is safe to assume that every one of us has experienced this on some level.
A baby is born with neonatal abstinence syndrome every 25 minutes in the United States. This has become a growing rural concern, and 48.3 percent of rural residents give birth to addicted babies. On October 25th, 2018 President Trump signed into law the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act. This is a bipartisan bill that funnels eight billion dollars into efforts to combat opioids. The objective of this bill is to provide relief to struggling communities. This obstacle, at times, seems insurmountable to overcome, but this crisis has finally received the recognition it requires.
Fighting Addiction Yourself is Difficult. Let Our Experts Help!
Fighting Addiction Yourself is Difficult. Let Our Experts Help!
What Is OxyContin?
OxyContin is the brand name for oxycodone hydrochloride. This is an opioid analgesic pain reliever. It is used to treat pain from surgeries, injuries, chronic illnesses, and cancer. It is a synthetic opioid that is milder than drugs like fentanyl but is still considered a very strong opioid narcotic. For some, this drug can be the difference between functioning and bedridden with pain. When used recreationally, however, it creates a powerful high that can change the user’s life in a negative way.
Opioids all work in a similar fashion – they bind to natural opioid receptors that stop pain signals from reach the brain.
Drugs like OxyContin attach to binding sites that are reserved for naturally occurring endorphins. Opioids are much more powerful than endorphins, and as a result, create feelings of relaxation, sedation, and euphoria. This is the “high” that recreational users will seek.
OxyContin has the ability to cause chemical dependence and addiction when abused. Sudden cessation of it can lead to extremely uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms that are often referred to as feeling like the flu. Quitting cold turkey is noted as difficult because of the adverse side effects someone can experience.
Signs of OxyContin Addiction
Addiction to OxyContin can be serious because of how it can lead to heroin use. OxyContin is one of the most powerful opioids that can be obtained with a prescription, and should always be taken seriously. Addiction can be hard to spot in the early stages even to this powerful drug. Those who take it with the sole purpose of helping their chronic pain may not be aware of their growing tolerance. The problem with drugs like OxyContin is that addiction was never the intention because it was not abused. It was an unavoidable accident that led to pain treatment which led to addiction. It’s an all too common story.
The first sign of an OxyContin addiction is tolerance. As your body gets used to the effects of the drug, it will require more of the substance to achieve the same effects. If you begin to notice this happening, it’s important that you speak with your primary care physician to determine your course of action. You must consider limiting your dose and cutting back to decrease the tolerance. If you do try this, however, and fail to stop or cut back, this is a sign of chemical dependency.
Chemical dependency can be summed up as intense cravings or uncomfortable symptoms upon cessation of a substance like OxyContin. Opioid withdrawal has been compared to the flu which can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and body aches. If you continue to use opioids without seeking treatment, this increases the likelihood of developing an addiction.
Addiction and dependence, while in the same category, are classified as something completely different. Addiction is defined as the continued use of a drug despite the consequences. For example, if you were to get fired from your job for showing up under the influence, but you continue to use, this is an example of addiction. While addiction is a serious disease, it is very treatable with modern advances in addiction medicine.
How Is Oxycontin Addiction Treated?
The method of stopping drug use on your own is known as “cold-turkey.” Doctors and addiction specialists strongly urge against this form of drug cessation. OxyContin withdrawal, while not dangerous, is extremely difficult to overcome on your own. In order to obtain long-term sobriety, treatment is recommended to help over psychological, biological, and social issues that may contribute to the substance use disorder.
Addiction treatment is a complex process with one goal in mind: resolve the issues that block the user from living a fulfilling life without substances. There are many reasons that could be causing this such as biological factors, psychological, legal, social, or financial. An effective treatment center will delve into all of these issues in detail to allow the client clarity.
The first portion of treatment will place the client into medical detoxification. Withdrawal from opioids as mentioned earlier is not dangerous like benzodiazepines or barbiturate drugs, but symptoms can still lead to dehydration which is dangerous without medical supervision. For this reason, it is highly recommended the client begins in this stage of care. There are benefits as well. They will be supervised 24 hours per day and have access to staff. This process will last anywhere from three to seven days and is dependent on the severity of the addiction.
Upon entry to detox, you will have created an assessment plan with the medical team that highlights your treatment outlook. The staff will ask a variety of questions that will determine your path in treatment. Depending on your history of relapse, underlying factors such as dual diagnosis, the severity of the addiction, and stability at home will settle your next step. They could decide residential treatment suits your needs the best.
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Residential treatment will place you in the care of the addiction specialists for a period of up to 90 days. In severe cases, this could be longer, but on average stays can vary from 30 to 90 days. You will participate in a variety of therapies such as group therapy, individual counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, and family therapy to list a few. This treatment is better suited for those with ongoing medical needs that require around the clock care.
Those who use their professional lives or education as a barrier to treatment may be better suited in an outpatient setting. The client will attend the same therapies those in residential will receive, but they will be allowed to return home after therapy ends. The client will be required to attend nine hours of therapy a week in a standard outpatient, but intensive outpatient will require more than nine hours a week. In more severe cases, the client will participate in medication-assisted treatment that offers medications like Suboxone to assist in their care.
OxyContin Abuse Statistics
- More than 40% of all U.S. opioid overdose deaths in 2016 involved a prescription opioid, with more than 46 people dying every day from overdoses involving prescription opioids
- Overdose rates from prescription opioids were highest among people aged 25 to 54 years
- The rate of overdose deaths from prescription opioids among men was 6.2 per 100,000 people, and the rate among women was 4.3 in 2016
Are You Suffering From an OxyContin Addiction? Let Us Help!
Are you or a loved one currently struggling with an addiction to OxyContin? Let our experts here at New Perspectives help you! Specializing in medication-assisted treatment, we are confident our evidence-based practices can help get you or your loved one healthy, happy, and most importantly sober!
By calling (855) 463-0793 now, you’ll be connected to one of our admissions specialists who can answer any questions you may have about our facility or program, verify your insurance, and get you started on the admissions process. Feel free to contact us online as well. We are standing by 24-7 ready to take your call and help you get the proper addiction treatment you both need and deserve!
Timsit, A. (2018, November 05). Rural American hospitals are not prepared for the rise in babies born with opioid withdrawal. from https://qz.com/1447515/rural-hospitals-in-the-us-cant-cope-with-the-babies-of-the-opioid-epidemic/
Opioid Overdose. (2017, December 19). from https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/statedeaths.html