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Oxycodone Addictions: Warning signs, symptoms, and treatment

It’s safe to assume that, in the 1990s, you had no idea what the future would look like. Sure enough, no one could have predicted a crisis so widespread that it would kill nearly half a million people. It may sound like a medieval disease like the bubonic plague, but what we’re talking about is the opioid crisis. In 2019, we are experiencing death at an alarming rate once thought unfathomable in the modern world.

Nearly 130 people die daily as a result of this current state of affairs. It has become a severe national crisis affecting public health, as well as social and economic welfare. It is estimated that the United States loses $78.5 billion every year due to the costs of health care, addiction treatment, lost productivity, and criminal justice involvement.

The opioid crisis emerged in three distinct waves. From 1999 to 2017, an estimated 400,000 people died from an overdose involving any opioid, which includes prescriptions and illicit opioids. The three waves are as follows:

opioid crisis
  1. The 1990s. The initial wave began in this decade with overdose deaths of prescription opioids (natural and semisynthetic opioids and methadone). The increase was in part due to the release of an opioid drug that was new at the time, which is known as OxyContin. Pharmaceutical representatives highlighted that their product was not addictive. This assurance persuaded members of the medical community to start prescribing the drug at historic rates.
  2. 2000-2010. After years of overdose deaths rising from drugs like oxycodone, the medical community began to tighten its grip on prescribing practices. Unfortunately, the damage had already been done at this point. Those who become full-blown opioid users were unable to get their prescriptions. By 2010, we saw a surge of overdose deaths involving heroin. Individuals unable to afford their prescription drugs on the street turned to more potent and cheaper drugs, which drove an increase in fatalities.
  3. 2013 to present. By 2013, there was a massive increase in overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids. Fentanyl produced in clandestine labs in Mexico began finding their way up north. Prescription pills, heroin, and even non-opioid drugs have been laced with the drug. Fentanyl, which is 50 times stronger than heroin, can cause an overdose instantly in someone with a lower tolerance.

Despite the rise in fake prescription drugs and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) clamping down on prescription opioids, they are still prescribed in cases of chronic pain. It begs the question, however, of how can someone can identify oxycodone.

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What Is Oxycodone?

Oxycodone is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant that is used to treat moderate-to-severe pain. It belongs to a group of medications known as narcotic analgesics. It works by blocking pain receptors in the brain and slowing the messages that travel between the mind and body.

Oxycodone comes with a set of side effects that include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, itching, constipation, dry mouth, and sweating. It has an extremely high likelihood of causing addiction, withdrawal, dependence, and overdose. It was solely intended to treat pain, but it was soon made evident that it can be abused.

Types of Oxycodone Pills

Of all prescription drugs, oxycodone has the highest potential for abuse. Ultimately, it carries the greatest danger of all pharmaceutical grade drugs, and it shares the same powerful characteristics as heroin. It also affects the nervous system in the same way.

Oxycodone is sold under several trade names, which include:

  • Percocet
  • Percodan
  • Endodan
  • Endocet
  • Roxiprin
  • Roxicet
  • Roxicodone
  • OxyContin

Can You Identify Counterfeit Oxycodone?

As we mentioned earlier in the article, public concern has grown in recent years due to counterfeit opioid pain pills. The spike has led to overdoses and deaths.

It’s common for individuals to purchase opioids like oxycodone on the street or black market.

Unfortunately, there is no way to determine if what you are getting from illicit drug dealers is the real thing. At best, these pills will be fillers that have no effect, but they could potentially contain fentanyl.

Fentanyl is one of the most potent opioids on the planet, and coming into contact with a small amount can cause an overdose. While this is not a foolproof method, one way to spot a fake oxycodone pill is to look at the texture and see if it looks uniform. Observing the shape and color of a tablet is not always enough because illicit pill producers are good at replicating opioid pills.

In some cases, counterfeit pills will have a vinegar smell. If a pill smells like heroin, it could likely be made with heroin. It could also have a bitter taste, but performing a taste test on an unknown substance can be dangerous.

Oxycodone may have several different appearances depending on the strength, type, and who produced the substance. You should never purchase oxycodone or any pain medication off the street or from the black market. It is often too difficult to determine if it is genuine, and the dangers may not be worth the outcome.

While this is not a foolproof method, one way to spot a fake oxycodone pill is to look at the texture and see if it looks uniform. Observing the shape and color of a tablet is not always enough because illicit pill producers are good at replicating opioid pills.

In some cases, counterfeit pills will have a vinegar smell. If a pill smells like heroin, it could likely be made with heroin. It could also have a bitter taste, but performing a taste test on an unknown substance can be dangerous.

Oxycodone may have several different appearances depending on the strength, type, and who produced the substance. You should never purchase oxycodone or any pain medication off the street or from the black market. It is often too difficult to determine if it is genuine, and the dangers may not be worth the outcome.

Sources

Opioid Overdose. (2018, December 19). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/opioids/fentanyl.html

Oxycodone (Oral Route) Description and Brand Names. (2019, May 01). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/oxycodone-oral-route/description/drg-20074193

Snow, A. (2019, February 14). 'Mexican oxy' pills in US Southwest lift fentanyl death toll. Retrieved from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2019-02-fentanyl-deaths-mexican-oxy-pills.html

Opioid Overdose. (2018, December 19). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/epidemic/index.html

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019, January 22). Opioid Overdose Crisis. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/opioid-overdose-crisis

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