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Prescription Painkillers Like Oxycodone – The Fuel for the Opioid Fire

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD By September 17, 2018

Prescription painkillers like oxycodone are some of the most commonly prescribed pain relievers in the state of  New Jersey, across the wider United States of America, and around the globe. Since January 1st of 2018 until the end of August 2018 New Jersey lost almost two thousand people to drug overdose in just seven months. Data from 2017 hasn’t been fully analyzed of yet, but in 2016, the most recently recorded full years worth of data, New Jersey lost a total 2221 people to drug overdose. Opioids make up almost all of those deaths related to drug abuse.  oxycodone is directly responsible for 349 of those deaths. In New Jersey there are currently over two and a half million opioid prescriptions in the state.

 

Discovery InstitutePrescription drugs like the narcotic analgesic, oxycodone get prescribed by doctors for a myriad of reasons and situations: from post inpatient or outpatient surgical pain, chronic muscle pain, tooth extraction – Percocet, a brand name of the drug oxycodone is often given to new mothers after their birth to help with the pain of postpartum muscle contractions. According to CNN, “The number of opioid prescriptions dispensed by doctors steadily increased from 112 million prescriptions in 1992 to a peak of 282 million in 2012, according to the market research firm IMS Health. The number of prescriptions dispensed has since declined, falling to 236 million in 2016.” (https://www.cnn.com/2017/09/18/health/opioid-crisis-fast-facts/index.html)

 

Drugs like the prescription painkiller oxycodone are a solid foundation for the life and growth of the modern day opioid drug epidemic. Prescriptions are doled out in high numbers for oxycodone and other prescription opioids like hydrocodone, or Vicodin, in New Jersey and in the United States as a whole, even while overdoses from opioids like heroin seem to be going down. It has to give a person pause though when it is common knowledge that so often addiction to more powerful opioids started with opioids like the less potent oxycodone which were prescribed by a physician, a seemingly innocent drug, and that eventually lead an addict to more potent opioids when the addict’s tolerance is too high for oxycodone to provide the experience the person struggling with the addiction is seeking out. With the knowledge that opioid prescriptions like oxycodone are leading to heroin deaths or fentanyl deaths down the line, states like New Jersey, and over half of the rest of the United States, are seeking out legislation and other measures to regulate prescription opioid pain medication and also to provide more funding toward treatment for those suffering with drug or alcohol addiction. Even insurance companies are beginning to cover more aspects of substance addiction recovery treatment.

Where Does Oxycodone Originate From?

Discovery InstituteIn the early 1900’s a semi-synthetic form of an opioid called oxycodone was sourced originally from the opium poppy plant and then altered into it’s semi-synthetic form. The drug was created in Germany. Oxycodone is usually prescribed in a pill form to be taken orally. People using the drug illicitly may take it orally, but they also might crush a tablet or puncture a capsule to remove the powder inside and snort it up their nostrils in order to experience the effects of the drug more quickly. They might also mix the powder with water and inject it into their veins which would also provide a quicker fix than taking the pill straight up.

 

It makes sense that oxycodone ended up becoming a popular street drug because it is made to offer relief from physical pain, but it also offers very temporary relief from mental discomfort as it brings the user to a sense of calm contentment and relaxation. Because these drugs are prescriptions first, someone who is prescribed an opioid may not realize the highly addictive nature of the drug. Perhaps they wouldn’t understand the slippery slope of using a little bit more of the drug than prescribed here and there, and a full blown prescription drug addiction. Oxycodone goes into the brain and binds to the pain receptors, the pleasure receptors or reward center and the addiction control center. It’s basically the perfect storm for deep addiction. Because oxycodone and other pain pills are sometimes used to treat muscle pain, or post surgical pain, there has been an uptick in perennial adults suffering from prescription pain medication addiction.

 

Oxycodone Has Many Names

Discovery InstituteThe prescription medication oxycodone is known by several different pseudonyms in the healthcare world as well as on the street. The following are some of the drug’s nicknames:

 

Percocet is one of the most common forms of the prescription analgesic prescribed today. This form of oxycodone was originally approved by  the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the mid 1970’s to treat patients who needed pain relief from moderate to severe pain.

The drug is also known by the following nicknames:

 

  • Blue Dynamite
  • Blueberries
  • Buttons
  • Ercs
  • Greenies
  • Hillbilly Heroin
  • Kickers
  • Percs
  • Wheels
  • Tires
  • Bananas

 

Oxycontin is another commonly prescribed brand name version of the drug that is mixed with acetaminophen in order to enhance it’s pain relief properties. It was created by Purdue Pharma and certified for use by the United States Food and Drug Administration, or the FDA in the late 1990’s. This version of the drug is commonly known by the following nicknames:

 

  • 30’s
  • 40’s
  • 512’s
  • Beans
  • Blues
  • Cotton
  • Shorts
  • Whites
  • Oxy
  • OC

 

Oxycodone Treatment in New Jersey

Discovery InstituteThe dangers of opioids, at this point, are well documented. In fact according to the World Health Organization, in 2016 up to 75% of the world’s drug related deaths were due to a complication of opioid use. So many of those deaths likely were the result of an opioid addiction that started innocently enough, with a doctor’s prescription for pain relief. No one deserves to have to deal with great amounts of pain, and the relief that opioids offer can be quite alluring, especially to someone who genuinely needs the pain relief.

 

Discovery Institute drug rehab center and detox center in NJ, and after care outpatient relapse prevention in New Jersey shapes their treatment plans around the individual person struggling with chemical dependency. The seemingly innocent nature of pain medication like oxycodone can quickly become an advanced addiction and change the life of the person addicted to the drug and everyone in their community. Opioid addiction can become life or death in relatively short order, especially if the person who has developed the addiction is also suffering from a dual diagnosis or the comorbidity of a mental health disorder.

 

Discovery Institute offers hope to those suffering from addiction. Treatment is the only way to get clean from opioids and learn the life skills necessary to move forward from addiction into a lifelong successful recovery. Discovery Institute offers comfortable amenities with a qualified staff of licensed medical professionals and qualified therapists to work with addicts as they move through therapy. Call today to learn more about what programs are right for you.

 

Article Reviewed by Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MDDr. Jeffrey Berman is a psychiatrist in Teaneck, New Jersey and is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He received his medical degree from State University of New York Upstate Medical University and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He also speaks multiple languages, including French and Hebrew.

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