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Oxycontin Abuse

Teen OxyContin Abuse

Oxycontin Abuse

While the drug OxyContin is widely regarded as one of the most effective pain killers on the market, it can also be extremely addictive and very dangerous when abused. OxyContin abuse has swept across this country like a firestorm over the last 15 years, resulting in hundreds of thousands of new drug addicts and tens of thousands of overdose related deaths. However, what may be most concerning about this latest drug epidemic is the way it is disproportionately affecting teenagers and young adults.
While alcohol and marijuana use continues to remain high among adolescents, it is estimated that almost one out of every five teens in the United States are currently abusing prescription drugs. And the most popular prescription drug among teens and young adults is the powerful and potent pain killer OxyContin. Almost 1 out of every 15 high school seniors acknowledges to taking OxyContin, which is up 40% from just three years ago. So what is OxyContin and what makes it so dangerous, especially for teens and young adults.

What is OxyContin

OxyContin is a controlled-release form of the powerful narcotic painkiller Oxycodone. OxyContin is only meant to be used for the management of moderate to severe pain, and only when continuous, around-the-clock pain relief is needed. OxyContin is rarely prescribed for an extensive period of time due to its high risk of addiction and dependency. However, because OxyContin is so effective at relieving pain and creating a mild euphoric effect, it has quickly become one of the most abused drugs in our society, especially among teens and young adults.

OxyContin Abuse

OxyContin can be abused in a number of ways. The individual can either crush up the tablet, bypassing it’s time release mechanism, and either chew, snort, or inject the drug intravenously. When OxyContin is injected intravenously it can cause a sudden rush of euphoria that is often compared to as being similar to the effects of heroin. However, because OxyContin is not meant to be ingested this way, it can cause major stress on the body and internal organs, and can often result in overdose, many of which can be fatal.

Street names for OxyContin include:

  • Oxy
  • OC’s
  • Hillbilly Heroin
  • Kicker
  • 40-Bar
  • 80-Bar
  • Cotton
  • Blue

Short and Long Term Effects of OxyContin Abuse

One of the most serious short term effects associated with OxyContin abuse is slowed breathing, also known as respiratory depression. Taking large doses of OxyContin can cause severe respiratory depression, which can lead to difficulty breathing and even death. Other short term effects can include vomiting, nausea, constipation, sweating, dry mouth, mood changes and loss of appetite.

Long term effects of OxyContin can be equally as dangerous. These can include an increased tolerance to the drug, which can result in opiate dependency and withdrawal. Long term OxyContin abuse can also lead to numerous health problems, especially in the brain and heart. OxyContin abuse can build up cerebro-spinal fluid in the brain, putting pressure on the sensitive brain tissue. OxyContin abuse can also affect the heart’s normal function resulting in a slowed heart rate, low blood pressure, and even heart failure.

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