Oxycodone is a common prescription opioid. Opioids are prescription pain relievers that reduce the intensity of pain signals reaching the brain. They affect the areas of the brain that control emotion, which diminishes the effects of painful stimuli. People use prescription opioids for the management of severe pain. But these drugs still come with serious risks. In short, yes, oxycodone is addictive. There is a persistent misunderstanding that prescription drugs are safer than illicit drugs. The truth is misuse of prescription drugs is dangerous and can lead to addiction. All opioid-based drugs have the ability to produce changes in brain chemistry. These changes may result in physical dependence and addiction. This risk is greater if used without a doctor to oversee the prescription. Opioid addiction can be deadly. Oxycodone is one drug that many patients end up abusing. Opioid Statistics & Facts Opioids made up the majority of the U.S.\u2019s 72,000 drug overdoses in 2017. In 2017, healthcare providers wrote 191,259 million prescriptions for opioid pain medication. More than 40 people die every day in the U.S. from prescription opioid overdoses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that the following three principles are key to improving the safe management of patients with chronic pain: \tNon-opioid therapy is preferred for chronic pain outside of active cancer and palliative and end-of-life care. \tWhen opioids are used, the lowest possible effective dosage should be prescribed to reduce the risks of opioid use disorder and overdose. \tProviders should always exercise caution when prescribing opioids and monitor patients closely. What Is Oxycodone? Oxycodone is a semi-synthetic prescription painkiller for moderate to severe pain. It is an opioid derived from laboratory modification of thebaine. This is one of the opium poppy\u2019s natural mind-altering chemicals. Doctors primarily prescribe oxycodone for people who have persistent pain that is moderate to severe. While most people receive oxycodone in tablet or pill form, the medication also comes in a liquid. This liquid can be injected into a vein or muscle, or under the skin. The drug is available alone or in combination with other pain relievers. Brand names include: \tOxyContin \u2014 oxycodone, both immediate and controlled release formulations \tOxyIR and OxyFast \u2014 oxycodone immediate release \tPercodan \u2014 oxycodone and aspirin \tPercocet \u2014 oxycodone and acetaminophen Signs and Symptoms of Oxycodone Addiction There are various signs and symptoms of oxycodone addiction. If you are questioning whether you have an addiction, ask yourself if you are tempted to do things you have never considered in order to get your next oxycodone dose. If you are looking at a loved one, consider all activities that are out of character for them. These out-of-character moments are an oxycodone abuse sign. Normal patients requiring prescription drugs will wait patiently for their next prescription. OxyContin addicts will become increasingly desperate for their next dose. This will lead them into moral gray zones at first, and later into crossing lines they never imagined. Signs of oxycodone addiction might include: \tNeeding to take higher doses of the drug to achieve the desired effect \tObtaining prescriptions from multiple doctors and\/or multiple pharmacies \tEngaging in illegal or immoral activity to get your hands on more oxycodone: \tStealing or borrowing oxycodone medication from family or friends \tRobbing pharmacies \tForging prescriptions for oxycodone \tIsolating yourself from family and friends so they don\u2019t see how much oxycodone you take \tChewing or crushing and snorting oxycodone medication to create a more intense high \tNeglecting responsibilities \tNegative outcomes at work or school \tSpending a lot of time obtaining, using and recovering from oxycodone \tWorsening of mental health issues, such as: \tAnxiety and panic attacks \tDepression \tDelusions \tParanoia Oxycodone Overdose An oxycodone overdose occurs when you take so much oxycodone that your body struggles to cope. During an oxycodone overdose, you will not be responsive to stimulation and breathing will not be adequate. This results in a lack of oxygen, preventing vital organs like the heart and brain from functioning properly. Oxycodone overdose symptoms need immediate attention. This will give the person the best chance of surviving. An opioid overdose can be fatal. Oxycodone overdose symptoms include: \tLight-headedness \tVomiting \tPale skin \tLow blood pressure \tTiny, unreactive pupils \tCold, clammy skin \tBlue color to lips and nails \tNon-responsiveness \tSlowed breathing or cessation of breathing \tSeizures \tSlowed heart rate \tUnconsciousness Long-Term Impact of Oxycodone Abuse Oxycodone abuse has long-term consequences. If a person doesn\u2019t seek treatment for oxycodone abuse, they may experience the following negative effects in the long term: \tSevere constipation \tPersistent vomiting \tSlowed activity in the heart and lungs \tImbalances in neuronal and hormonal systems \tInfection (for those who inject oxycodone) \tAddiction, resulting in uncontrollable urges to use and withdrawal symptoms when you stop using \tWorsening mental health How Does Oxycodone Addiction Happen? Oxycodone addiction begins with oxycodone abuse. Drug abuse refers to repeated use of a drug, despite negative outcomes for the individual. Drug addiction occurs when drug abuse results in brain changes. These brain changes mean a person will have uncontrollable urges to use oxycodone. Oxycodone addiction is also characterized by tolerance and withdrawal symptoms. Most oxycodone addicts start out using the drug for a medical problem. While oxycodone relieves pain, when used more often than prescribed or in higher doses, it can also reduce anxiety and create a sense of euphoria. When someone no longer needs the medication for pain, they may feel the urge to keep using in order to achieve the oxycodone high. A person may continue to get oxycodone prescriptions when they don\u2019t need them or find other ways of obtaining the drug. This is a sign of oxycodone abuse. You can recognize this transition to drug abuse if you or a loved one is using oxycodone once the pain or medical condition no longer warrants it. You may also notice the transition if you or someone else is using oxycodone more often or at higher doses than prescribed. Many people who abuse oxycodone do so by crushing the pills into a fine powder. They will then snort them, chew them or crush and dissolve the tablets in water and inject the solution. People primarily use these methods with the brand OxyContin to defeat the time-release mechanism of the drug. This causes the active ingredient to take effect almost immediately after ingestion. Doing so increases the risk of overdose because the drug was not designed to be used in this manner. The high may be stronger. But so are the physical symptoms that can result in death, including slowed breathing and heart rate. Who Does Oxycodone Addiction Happen to? Anyone is susceptible to oxycodone addiction. This is because the drug creates a high characterized by a feeling of euphoria and relaxation. If you have easy access to oxycodone, then you could get hooked on chasing this high. Some people are at higher risk of developing oxycodone addiction. For example, we know lower socioeconomic regions hold higher risks of oxycodone addiction. However, addiction affects everyone\u2014no matter their income, race or gender. A mental health condition can also increase your risk of addiction. This is because those living with mental illness may try to self-medicate with drugs. Oxycodone may temporarily blunt low mood and anxiety, but in the long term this way of coping can result in oxycodone addiction. When you struggle with both a mental health condition and substance abuse, this is known as a co-occurring disorder or a dual diagnosis. How Does Oxycodone Addiction Compare to Other Drug Addictions? Opioids have claimed more than 190,000 lives in the U.S. since 1999. And most experts blame OxyContin for setting off the nation\u2019s deadly prescription opioid epidemic. Indeed, it appears that oxycodone is more addictive than many other prescription opioids. Some research helps to back up this claim. In a study published in the European Journal of Neuroscience, researchers analyzed how oxycodone and morphine affected dopamine levels in the brains of rats. Both drugs triggered rapid increases in the brain\u2019s dopamine output. But, the increase from morphine lasted just 60 seconds. Oxycodone triggered a dopamine increase that continued for a much longer period. This also led to more extensive alteration of normal brain chemistry. While this was an animal-model study and further research is warranted, the findings suggest that oxycodone has a potentially higher risk of abuse\/addiction than other opioid pain medications. This is due to oxycodone\u2019s rapid effects and its ability to cause long-lasting changes to the brain. Treatment for Oxycodone Addiction Oxycodone may carry the risk of addiction but when used correctly, it is a safe and effective form of pain medication. If you are struggling with substance abuse or oxycodone addiction, it\u2019s important to get immediate help. This will prevent substance abuse from spiraling out of control. At Lucida, we offer inpatient rehab for oxycodone addiction. This will allow you to safely detox and receive round-the-clock care while staying on-site at our state-of-the-art facility. Treatment options during inpatient rehab may include: \tCounseling and behavior therapy \t12-step programs and 12-step alternatives \tSupport groups \tDrug and mental health education Oxycodone addiction is treatable. At Lucida\u2019s addiction center, we will provide you with a personalized recovery plan, which addresses your unique needs. This will give you the best chance of recovery and staying sober in the long term.