Oxycontin Abuse


What is Oxycontin?

Oxycontin belongs to the opioid drug family related to Heroin use. Oxycontin has been prescribed by Doctors to treat pain and when used for short term can be effective but it can be addictive. As the years went on doctors were very lenient with prescriptions which led to many getting addicted and progressively having to take more and more of it. For some it would lead to using heroin when they could not get the oxycontin prescribed as heroin is cheaper and more available on the streets. New laws have been passed to limit the prescribing of opioids holding the doctors and pharmacies to more responsibility on the usage and misuse of the drug.

How does Oxycontin affect the brain?

Opioids bind to and activate opioid receptors on cells located in many areas of the brain, spinal cord, and other organs in the body, especially those involved in feelings of pain and pleasure. When opioids attach to these receptors, they block pain signals sent from the brain to the body and release large amounts of dopamine throughout the body. This release can strongly reinforce the act of taking the drug, making the user want to repeat the experience.

In the short term, opioids can relieve pain and make people feel relaxed and happy. However, opioids can also have harmful effects, including:

  • drowsiness
  • confusion
  • nausea
  • constipation
  • euphoria
  • slowed breathing

Opioid misuse can cause slowed breathing, which can cause hypoxia, a condition that results when too little oxygen reaches the brain. Hypoxia can have short- and long-term psychological and neurological effects, including coma, permanent brain damage, or death. Researchers are also investigating the long-term effects of opioid addiction on the brain, including whether damage can be reversed.

Can a person overdose on Oxycontin?

Yes and it can be life threatening. Often breathing will slow or stop causing a lack of oxygen to the brain. There are treatments for an overdose to opioids. The newest treatment is Naloxone, which the common brand name is known as Narcan. Naloxone can be used as an easy injectible anywhere on the body or Narcan as a nasal spray. Common practice is now for pain doctors to prescribe Narcan whenever they are prescribing an ipioid. Treatment centers are also starting to be held to the expectation and many offer family and individual training on how to use it. In most states you don’t even need a prescription to get it and can easily get it from any pharmacy. If you have questions you can call us at The Beachcomber at 561-276-6226.

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