Oxycodone is a prescription opioid that can provide pain relief. Unfortunately, it’s also a common drug of abuse that, over time, can become physically and psychologically addictive.
Brand name drugs containing oxycodone include:
- Xtampza ER
- Xartemis ER
Oxycodone addiction carries a serious risk of opioid overdose, as well as other issues such as physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms with any attempt to quit.
Addiction treatment options, including inpatient drug rehab and outpatient treatment, can help you overcome addiction and begin to rebuild a more hopeful future in recovery.
Examples Of Oxycodone Abuse
Oxycodone abuse is any use of oxycodone that has not been prescribed by a medical doctor.
Examples of this include:
- taking higher doses than prescribed
- taking doses more often
- taking it with other drugs to get high
- taking a family member’s pills
- snorting oxycodone
- shooting oxycodone (i.e. injection)
- plugging oxycodone
While oxycodone is typically directed for oral use, it is sometimes abused by other methods for faster or more powerful drug effects. Unfortunately, these methods are also highly dangerous.
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Why Do People Abuse Oxycodone?
Oxycodone abuse can occur for a variety of reasons. It may be abused as a way to self-medicate pain, depression, anxiety, or symptoms of another mental health disorder.
Oxycodone can also be bought off the street to relieve withdrawal symptoms from other opioid drugs, like heroin or fentanyl, or be mixed with drugs like alcohol for stronger effects.
What Makes Oxycodone Addictive?
Oxycodone is a prescription pain reliever that depresses the body’s central nervous system and interacts with certain receptors in the body known as opioid receptors.
Oxycodone attaches to opioid receptors upon entering the brain, which are associated with “feel good” chemicals like dopamine that affect mood, sense of well-being, and hormone regulation.
Side effects of this may include:
- reduced pain
Chronic abuse of oxycodone can disrupt the system that produces “feel good” chemicals. This can result in a physical reliance (dependence) and mental reliance on the drug (addiction).
This can also increase your tolerance for the prescription painkiller. This requires that you take more or higher doses of oxycodone in order to feel the desired effect.
Signs Of An Oxycodone Addiction
Addiction doesn’t happen right away. Addiction is a disease that develops over time, and progressively gets worse. Not all who are addicted may recognize addiction for what it is.
Signs and symptoms of an oxycodone addiction include:
- increasing how much you take
- increasing how often you take it
- being unable to quit or reduce your drug use
- obsession with oxycodone
- snorting, injecting, or plugging oxycodone
- continuing to use oxycodone despite negative consequences to health or relationships
- engaging in risky or dangerous behaviors related to drug use
- mixing oxycodone with other drugs
- opioid withdrawal symptoms (e.g. anxiety, muscle aches, anxiety, insomnia)
Many people who become addicted to oxycodone begin by taking it as prescribed by a doctor. If this describes you or a loved one who’s abusing oxycodone, you’re not alone.
Side Effects Of Oxycodone Abuse
Oxycodone is a strong painkiller that can have a number of physical and mental side effects when abused. Some of these side effects can be serious.
Side effects of oxycodone abuse may include:
- slow or shallow breathing
- difficulty breathing
- reduced heart rate
- changes in blood pressure
- poor concentration
- slow reflexes
- tiny pupils
- chest pain
- dry mouth
- flushed skin
- mood swings
Severe side effects, such as changes in breathing, unresponsiveness, or coma can also be signs of an oxycodone overdose. If this occurs, call for emergency medical attention right away.
Risks Of Long-Term Oxycodone Abuse
Chronic drug abuse can damage a person’s health and have negative effects on overall wellbeing.
First, it can lead to tolerance and physical dependence. This can lead to oxycodone withdrawal symptoms with any attempt to stop. Withdrawal can make it harder to quit addictive drugs.
Other risks associated with chronic oxycodone abuse include:
- risk of overdose
- bloodborne disease (if injecting)
- chronic constipation
- breathing problems
- heart irregularities
- sleep issues, such as insomnia
- erectile dysfunction
- irregular menstrual cycle
What Drugs Are Commonly Mixed With Oxycodone?
Oxycodone is sometimes mixed with other drugs for enhanced effects, or to counteract the effects of other drugs. This is known as polysubstance abuse.
Polysubstance abuse, particularly with opioids, is a known risk factor for severe addiction, organ damage, and fatal drug overdose.
Common oxycodone drug combinations include:
- mixing cocaine and oxycodone
- mixing oxycodone and alcohol
- mixing oxycodone and other opioids
- How Long Oxycodone Stays In Your System
Oxycodone can remain detectable in the body for about one to four days on average.
Oxycodone use can be detected by:
Read more about how long oxycodone stays in your system.
Risk Factors For Oxycodone Addiction
Anyone can become addicted to oxycodone. But there are certain risk factors that can make this condition more likely to develop in some people.
Risk factors for oxycodone addiction include:
- prescription opioid use
- prior history of substance abuse
- family history of addiction
- history of mental illness
- access to oxycodone
- medical conditions treated with opiates
Addiction is not a sign of personal weakness. Left untreated, however, addiction can become a lifelong struggle, as well as increase the risk for life-threatening consequences like overdose.
Treatment For Oxycodone Abuse And Addiction
Oxycodone addiction is a serious public health concern. But it is treatable, and it can be overcome. For most, this journey begins with seeking some form of addiction treatment.
Addiction treatment options include:
Oxycodone Detox Programs
Addiction recovery begins with detoxification, or detox. This involves withdrawing from oxycodone, ideally in a medically supervised environment such as a rehab or detox facility.
What detoxification can offer:
- a safe way to quit oxycodone
- treatment for withdrawal symptoms
- a quiet and supervised setting
- care coordination for additional treatment
Inpatient Drug Rehab
Severe addiction can best be treated within an inpatient or residential rehab program. This is the highest level of care for substance abuse and mental health disorders.
An inpatient rehab program can offer daily, ongoing support within a safe and supervised environment. This type of program requires staying in a treatment facility overnight.
During rehab, you can begin healing from the effects of addiction, receive counseling, and learn useful tools and strategies for leading a fulfilling life in recovery.
Outpatient treatment for opioid addiction is a less intensive option. This does not involve live-in care, but can serve as a helpful step-down after completing an inpatient or residential program.
Outpatient treatment may involve addiction counseling, receiving medication for opioid use disorder, and attending group therapy sessions one or several times per week.
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is the most effective treatment for opioid addiction. In MAT, you attend counseling, behavioral therapy, and take medication for opioid use disorder.
Types of medication-assisted treatment options include:
- methadone treatment
- buprenorphine treatment (Subutex, Suboxone)
- naltrexone treatment
This “whole-person” treatment approach addresses not only the physical effects of addiction, but also the mental and psychological effects, improving chances of long-term recovery.
Oxycodone Addiction FAQs
Find answers here to frequently asked questions about oxycodone abuse, addiction, and finding a treatment center that offers opioid addiction treatment.
❓ What Is Oxycodone?
✔️ Oxycodone is a prescription opioid narcotic frequently prescribed as a painkiller. It can treat moderate to severe pain and may be prescribed for chronic pain management.
Oxycodone is chemically similar to prescription drugs such as codeine, morphine, hydrocodone, and the illicit drug heroin.
❓ What Are Common Street Names For Oxycodone?
✔️ People who buy or sell oxycodone illicitly may refer to it by a street name. Common street names for oxycodone include Oxy, roxy, hillbilly heroin, and O.C. among others.
❓ How Much Does Oxycodone Cost?
✔️ Oxycodone can be acquired by prescription or be bought through illicit channels (e.g. through a drug dealer). It can cost upwards of $12 to $80 per pill, depending on factors like dosage.
Read more about how much oxycodone costs on the street.
❓ What Is A Fatal Dose Of Oxycodone?
✔️ Too much oxycodone can be deadly. For the average adult, a lethal dose of oxycodone (OxyContin) could be upwards of 80 milligrams (mg) a day or more.
Find Help For Oxycodone Addiction Today
Millions of people in the United States seek help for opioid abuse each year. You don’t have to do this alone. Let us help you begin your journey today.
Call our helpline now to find the best treatment program for yourself or a loved one with oxycodone addiction.
Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.
These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — Opioid Overdose: Prescription Opioids https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/opioids/prescribed.html
- Center for Substance Abuse Research — Oxycodone http://www.cesar.umd.edu/cesar/drugs/oxycodone.asp
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) — Key Substance Abuse and Mental Health Indicators in the United States: Results from the 2020 NSDUH https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/reports/rpt35325/NSDUHFFRPDFWHTMLFiles2020/2020NSDUHFFR1PDFW102121.pdf
- U.S. Food & Drug Administration — Highlights of Prescribing Information https://www.fda.gov/media/131026/download
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Oxycodone https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682132.html