Dangers of Shooting Oxycodone, Demerol and Dilaudid
Painkiller drugs are often prescribed to treat conditions where temporary or long-term pain symptoms interfere with a person’s ability to carry out everyday activities. Painkillers can also be purchased on the street. While many drug addictions start out as recreational activities that develop into ongoing use, addiction to painkillers can happen just from following a prescribed medication regimen.
Between the years 2004 and 2008, the number of emergency room visits resulting from overuse of painkiller drugs increased by 111 percent, according to Harvard Health Publications. Many of these cases involved shooting up or IV use, which greatly increases the likelihood of addiction. Like most other drug categories, there are several different painkiller drugs on the market, some legal and some illegal.
Painkillers & IV Use
Drugs designed to relieve pain symptoms come from both legal and illegal sources. Prescription-based medications, such as oxycodone, Demerol and Dilaudid work in much the same way as PCP, an illegal street drug. A significant different between prescription and street drugs has to do with knowing what’s actually in a particular dose. Street-based IV drugs are more oftentimes than not mixed with unknown additive agents that can vary in their effects on the body. Prescription drugs usually contain a pure concentration of each drug type combined with other known active ingredients.
In either case, all pain relief or analgesic drugs work directly with the brain’s built-in opiate receptors. These receptors work closely with the body’s central nervous system, delivering endorphin or “feel good” chemicals throughout the body. Painkiller drugs are designed to interact with the brain’s opiate receptors much like the body’s natural “feel good” chemicals do.
When people shoot up painkillers, the liquid form of the drug goes directly to the brain through the bloodstream. When compared with snorting or taking a pill, the effects of a painkiller can set in as quickly as 15 to 30 seconds. This rate is nearly 10 times faster than snorting or popping a pill. Drug effects are also much more intense when ingested through an intravenous or IV route.
While the high may be quicker and more pleasurable, repeated injections in the same spots can lead to health complications as skin and vein walls become damaged. Shooting street-based painkillers also introduces unknown additive materials into the body. Over time, these additives can cause considerable damage to the body’s cardiovascular system as well as to the blood vessels inside the brain. Repeated needle use can also leave a person open to contracting viral diseases like HIV and hepatitis, particularly when needles are shared in a group.
*Prescription Uses for Painkiller Medications
Prescriptions painkiller medications are designed to treat any form of pain within any area of the body. While prescription dosages should suit the type of ailment involved, some conditions may or may not respond to certain types of painkillers. According to the American Chronic Pain Association, conditions that may warrant pain medication therapy include:
- Conditions involving acute pain symptoms from a recent injury
- Chronic pain conditions lasting anywhere from three to six months
- Pain flare-ups that require stronger medications to relieve episodes of severe pain
- Ongoing pain symptoms that persist for most of the day
Side Effects of Shooting Oxycodone
Oxycodone is a modified version of the nature-made opium found in plants. It exists as an active main ingredient in several prescription drugs, some of which include:
The different brands combine small doses of oxycodone with other active ingredients, such as aspirin.
OxyContin is one of the most commonly used brands of oxycodone and carries a high potential for abuse because of how potent the drug can be. It’s often prescribed to treat pain symptoms associated with cancer and arthritis-type conditions. Since oxycodone is a prescription-based drug, it’s often viewed as a “white collar” addiction as people from all walks of life have been affected by its addictive potential. The effects of OxyContin can last for as long as 12 hours.
When administered through an IV, the drug is crushed up and diluted with water. Shooting oxycodone can be done through the veins, muscles or injected underneath the skin. In the case of OxyContin, shooting up counteracts the pill’s built-in time-release mechanism. This means a person feels the full effects of the drug all at once instead of over a 12-hour period. While definitely more intense, this method greatly increases the likelihood that someone will overdose from the drug.
Oxycodone works by altering how the central nervous system communicates pain signals in the brain. In effect, the drug changes the pain messages the brain receives from the body, which reduces a person’s sense of pain and also affects their emotional response to pain. Oxycodone can cause side effects, such as slowed reflexes, headaches and dizziness, when taken as prescribed. When abused, severe health complications can result.
Shooting up oxycodone intensifies its effects to the point where major systems in the body can completely shut down. Low blood pressure, heart failure and even death are just some of the health complications that can result from IV injections.
*Painkiller Drug Uses for Self-Medicating
Both adolescents and adults may experiment with painkillers as a way to self-medicate an existing problem. Unfortunately, many end up getting addicted to these drugs in the process. According to California State University, some of the conditions a person may try to self-medicate with painkiller drugs include:
- Anxiety conditions
- Sleep disorders
Dangers of Shooting Demerol
Demerol is the brand name for mespiridine, another drug-type manufactured from the opium plant. As a prescription, Demerol comes in tablet, injectable solution and syrup forms. It’s generally used to treat conditions involving moderate to severe pain. Demerol’s pain-relieving effects can last anywhere from two to four hours. As with any painkiller medication, a person can become addicted after using the drug for long periods. Addiction can also become an issue when the drug is used for recreational purposes.
When compared to oxycodone brands, Demerol works as a fast-acting pain-reliever so the potential for addiction is higher, especially when shooting up. The “high” effects from Demerol can cause an initial rush along with feelings of extreme happiness. Since IV use delivers the drug directly to the brain’s opiate receptors, Demerol’s fast-acting effects can be more intense than a slower acting analgesic. This also means the brain and the body can build up a tolerance at quicker rates than with oxycodone or slower acting painkiller drugs.
As tolerance levels increase, the likelihood of withdrawal effects also increases since it takes more and more of the drug to feel the desired effects. Some of the withdrawal effects that come from abusing Demerol include:
- Bone and/or muscle pain
- Flu-type symptoms
As the body’s tolerance level increases, withdrawal effects become more severe. This is part of the reason why it’s so hard to stop using Demerol and painkilling drugs in general. People with high tolerance levels also tend to inject higher doses of the drug over time as the body’s cravings become overwhelming. This practice greatly increases the likelihood that a person will overdose on the drug.
Someone who’s overdosed on Demerol can experience a wide range of symptoms depending on their overall health condition and the length of time they’ve been using. Some of the symptoms experienced may include:
- Cold, clammy feel to the skin
- Weak muscles
- Slow heartbeat
- Difficulty breathing
After a certain point, a person will have to seek help from a detox center in order to break the addiction cycle. If you need help with breaking an addition to painkillers, we offer a toll-free number you can call for more information. Our representatives can also provide you with information on detox centers in your local area.
Dilaudid –- also known by its generic name, hydromorphine – is another type of prescription painkiller medication. Much like the hydrocodone drugs, Dilaudid intercepts the pain messages the brain receives from the body and increases a person’s overall pain threshold. As a prescription, Dilaudid comes in intravenous, suppository, intramuscular, and oral tablet and liquid forms.
Even when taken as prescribed, a person can experience a euphoric high combined with the numbing of the emotions when first starting Dilaudid. These effects alone can motivate some people to take more than prescribed or keep taking it after pain treatment is no longer needed. The body quickly develops a tolerance to the effects of Dilaudid, making it easy to become addicted even after short-term use.
Since the body learns to tolerate Dilaudid’s effects early on, pain symptoms may soon override the drug’s analgesic effects. Oftentimes, a person may try to take more of the drug in order to help alleviate the pain. Doing so only increases the likelihood of becoming addicted to the drug. As with any other addictive drug, the faster the body builds a tolerance, the worse the withdrawal symptoms will be.
IV use only works to speed up the rate at which a person becomes addicted and the intense “high” that comes from shooting up makes it all the more difficult to stop using. Once withdrawal symptoms set in, it’s a sign of addiction. Some of the symptoms to look out for include:
- Stiff muscles
- Flu-like symptoms
- Racing heartbeat
*Painkiller Drug Abuse Statistics
The abuse of painkillers appears to be a growing problem within the United States that affects people of all ages and walks of life. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for 2008 show the impact painkiller abuse has had within the country as a whole:
- Over 12 million adults and teenagers reported using prescription painkillers for recreational purposes.
- Deaths related to overdosing increased by threefold over a 20-year period with as many as 14,800 deaths within 2008 alone.
- Between the years 2003 and 2008, emergency room visits more than doubled from 250,000 a year to 500,000 a year.
- The abuse of painkiller drugs carries an annual cost of $72.5 billion per year within the health care system.
Though classified as an illegal substance, PCP – also known as “angel dust” and phencyclidine – has painkilling properties that work in much the same way as prescription-based drugs. PCP appears as a white powder that easily dissolves in water and alcohol. It can also be smoked or injected intravenously.
When shooting up, the “high” effects from PCP take anywhere from two to five minutes to set in so this drug works a bit slower than the other prescription-based analgesics, according to Rush University Medical Center. The drug’s effects can vary considerably depending on the dosage amount used. Low doses of PCP create a mild “buzz” similar to what’s felt when someone is drunk. Depending on the person, higher doses can cause a person’s body to go numb. Higher doses can also create feelings of anxiety and even trigger violent behavior.
Large doses of PCP can completely alter a person’s perception to the point where imaginary voices or visions are present. In effect, large doses may trigger psychotic episodes like those experienced by someone with schizophrenia. Acute kidney failure, seizures and even death can result from taking a dose that’s too much for the body to handle.
Stop Shooting and Get Healthy
If you’d like to stop shooting drugs of any kind, contact us today. We can connect you with treatment that can help you achieve long-term sobriety.