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OxyContin Addiction

Notoriously called “hillbilly heroin,” OxyContin is a potent painkiller that provides a euphoric high that intensifies when tablets are crushed. Due to the combined forces of tolerance, shifts in brain chemistry, behavioral conditioning and underlying psychological issues, OxyContin can be one of the most difficult prescription drugs to treat. Fortunately, prescription drug rehabilitation centers throughout the country have forged successful, targeted programs dedicated to the treatment of OxyContin addiction.

Prevalence of OxyContin Addiction

OxyContin addiction has become a widespread epidemic across the United States. In fact, according to the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC), OxyContin-involved emergency room visits skyrocketed by 93 percent between the years 1997 and 1998 alone. The Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) reported that a decade later, in 2009, nearly 176,000 emergency room visits nationwide were attributed to use of oxycodone – OxyContin’s active ingredient.

How Is OxyContin Acquired?

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With popularity on the rise, methods of acquisition involve both legitimate prescriptions and illegitimate means.

The most frequently used methods of obtaining OxyContin include:

  • Physician Prescriptions
    OxyContin prescriptions may be given for moderate to severe pain, often for injuries, post-surgical pain, or treatment of a debilitating health condition or terminal disease.
  • “Doctor Shopping”
    When one physician will no longer prescribe OxyContin, some patients will keep making doctors’ appointments until they find a prescribing physician. In some cases, doctor shopping will also involve multiple physicians’ prescriptions, as each physician prescribes OxyContin without knowledge of already obtained medication.
  • Borrowed or Stolen OxyContin
    Many OxyContin addicts begin their habit by using prescriptions written for others, obtaining the drug from other patients by permission or theft.
  • Forged Prescriptions
    In some cases, prescription pads have been forged or stolen, leading to falsified – and often multiple – OxyContin prescriptions.
  • Internet Pharmacies
    Online pharmacies – often located in foreign countries – often provide OxyContin prescriptions without the need for an in-person doctor’s appointment, instead offering “internet consultations” via e-mail or chat. Though prices tend to run in the hundreds of dollars per prescription, loose regulation around online pharmacies has led to easy access of OxyContin and other prescription opiates.
  • Street Sales
    Individual prescriptionsand sometimes, even pharmaceutical drugs in transport – often end up on the streets in illicit OxyContin resale, often selling for 10 times or more beyond its per-tablet retail price.

OxyContin Addiction

Because abuse is often as simple as popping a pill, OxyContin addiction often exists under the radar. According to the Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR), signs of OxyContin abuse – as well as its non-time-released version, oxycodone – include the following symptoms and behaviors:

  • Respiratory difficulties
  • Chronic headaches
  • Nausea
  • Lightheadedness
  • Depression
  • Increasing tolerance and dosages
  • Pill cutters, empty prescription bottles, razors or straws
  • Mood swings or personality changes
  • Constipation and digestive issues
  • “Doctor shopping” or fraudulent prescriptions
  • Feigned illnesses or injuries

Untreated Addiction and Overdose Risk

Virtually all opiates carry with them a risk of overdose – a risk often exacerbated by increasing drug tolerance, drug “cocktails” mixing OxyContin with alcohol or other drugs, or even periods of abstinence (with dosages that exceed lowered tolerance). However, OxyContin users often experience a higher risk of overdose, due to method of intake.

Because OxyContin is a time-released version of the potent painkiller Percocet (also known as oxycodone), the drug contains 12 hours of metered analgesic medication. When individuals become addicted to OxyContin, they often crush tablets to achieve a fast-acting megadose – choosing instead to snort, inject or drink a solution of the drug. Most cases of overdose result from off-label methods of ingestion, causing dangerous slowing of the central nervous system functions, coma and ultimately, death.

The Benefits of Entering Rehabilitation

OxyContin addiction is notoriously difficult to overcome without professional help. Residential rehabilitation centers can simply provide the medical care, mental health guidance, lifestyle support and addiction expertise that outpatient treatment programs cannot.

The benefits of entering rehabilitation include:

  • Alleviation of Withdrawal Symptoms
    Mimicking those of heroin and morphine, OxyContin withdrawal symptoms can grow severe as the body exits chemical dependency on the opiate – particularly for addicts who crushed the drug for a high-impact high. Professional rehabilitation provides medically managed, supervised care to ensure against withdrawal symptoms such as muscle tremors, nausea, severe headaches, flushing, exhaustion, amnesia and diarrhea. With professional addiction detoxification guidance and mental health professionals on hand to contextualize psychological withdrawal symptoms such as paranoia, mood disturbances and severe depression, patients can comfortably detoxify, restoring health and mental clarity.
  • Cravings Management
    As patients move through the rehabilitation process, they often experience intense cravings for the opioid painkiller – both psychological and physical in nature. Physical cravings stem from the imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain that result from extended addiction – particularly in the brain’s supply of dopamine, a specialized chemical associated with contentedness and well-being. As use prolongs, the brain eventually scales back dopamine production, leaving addicts literally craving the drug on a chemical level during detoxification.Psychological cravings also can set in during rehab, as a result of neuropathways conditioned to associate the prescription drug with euphoria – an effect often exacerbated by underlying, untreated mental health conditions. Rehab can provide emotional and psychological support – and, in some cases, even medical treatments – for addicts dealing with persistent opiate cravings.
  • Peer Support and 12-Step Traditions
    Rehab also provides peer support for addicts, both in the form of group therapy and 12-step meetings. These vital resources provide addicts with the encouragement, exchange and inspiration to build a foundation for recovery. Twelve-step attendance can provide ongoing support for addicts as they return home, while involvement with process groups allows chemically dependent individuals to experience camaraderie, remove the specter of shame, and find their voices as they journey to recovery.
  • Individualized Therapy
    Most rehab programs will provide one-on-one therapy sessions for individuals recovering from drug addiction. In the safe haven of personalized therapy, recovering addicts receive psychological analysis and insight into the underlying factors that may have contributed to their prescription drug addictions. Specialized therapies such as eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), music therapy, art therapy and psycho-drama therapy may also be employed.
  • Lifestyle Guidance
    Most holistic rehabilitation centers provide lifestyle guidance to addicts during their recovery stay. Nutritionists and dieticians ensure proper nutritional intake, while trainers can provide customized fitness routines to ensure endorphin release and stress relief. Spiritual advisors may provide guided visualizations, meditation instruction and inspiration. Alternative therapies are often employed, allowing addicts to benefit from an introduction to mind-body techniques such as yoga, qi gong or tai chi.
  • Transitional Support and Aftercare
    Because recovery from OxyContin addiction is truly an ongoing process, rehabilitation centers provide transitional support as those in treatment prepare to graduate. By identifying specific obstacles and triggers that addicts may encounter upon their return home, environmental changes and exit strategies are outlined ahead of time – where they can benefit patients most. Additionally, aftercare support is often extended by drug rehab centers, providing follow-up calls and free therapeutic events for alumni.

Teen Prescription Drug Abuse Programs

Teen Prescription Drug AbuseAccording to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), illegal usage of prescription drugs among teenagers remains at epidemic levels. In 2008, the nationwide Monitoring the Future Study found that just under five percent of 12th graders had used OxyContin illegally to get high. By 2009, nearly eight percent of American teenagers between the ages of 12 to 17 had used some form of prescription medicines illegally.

Studies have demonstrated that teens who engage in prescription drug abuse experience a higher risk for engaging in other forms of drug abuse. In response to the ongoing problem of teen OxyContin abuse, specialized rehabilitation programs geared at teenagers have been created.

At teen prescription drug abuse programs, teenagers can heal among their peers, forging positive, drug-free relationships. From sports activities to natural excursions, teen prescription drug programs provide an introduction to communication, interactions and exchanges in a safe and sober atmosphere. Some teen drug programs also offer private tutoring or homeschooling instruction to ensure that academic goals do not lapse during treatment. Many teen drug rehabilitation programs also place a heavy emphasis on family relationships, providing family counseling to foster growth, bonding and healthy communication within the family unit.

Finding Rehab Programs

OxyContin abuse can quickly descend into a life dominated by prescription drug addiction, and treatment can be a matter of life and death. Across the nation, prescription drug rehabilitation centers have guided countless individuals into the healing and freedom of sobriety. From teen programs to extended care solutions, Rehabs.com can expertly match you the best luxury oxycontin rehabilitation center within your means. Call us today to speak with one of our addiction assessment specialists to learn about programs that can finally free you – or a loved one – from OxyContin dependency.

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