Oxycodone Dependence and Dangerous
Oxycodone is an opioid pain medication. An opioid is sometimes called a narcotic.
Oxycodone is used to treat moderate to severe pain. Oxycodone extended-release is used for around-the-clock treatment of pain. This form of oxycodone is not for use on an as-needed basis for pain.
Oxycodone is a narcotic medication used to relieve moderate to severe pain. OxyContin is a brand of timed-release oxycodone, made by Purdue Pharma, that works for up to 12 hours. The drug is in a class of medications called opioid analgesics; they work by changing the way your brain and nervous system respond to pain.
Oxycodone is a prescription opiate analgesic—or “painkiller”—that works by changing the way that the brain responds to pain. It is prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain, and commonly supplied under the brand names OxyContin and Percocet.
Has a high potential for abuse.
Has a currently accepted medical use.
May lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.
Oxycodone is classified as a Schedule II drug, meaning that it has been determined to have highly addictive properties and a high potential for dependence. Oxycodone dependence can be both psychological and physical:
Psychological dependence often stems from the feeling of euphoria that users experience at first. Users want to continue feeling as euphoric and relaxed as their early use, sometimes even seeking higher doses in hopes of amplifying the effects.
Physical dependence on oxycodone involves adaptation to a persistently heightened presence of drug in one’s system. After some duration, certain physiologic processes are impeded when the drug isn’t available. Additionally, tolerance can quickly develop—a phenomenon that means you will eventually need more and more of the drug in order to achieve the same effects.
Effects of Oxycodone Abuse
Oxycodone is considered an opioid receptor agonist. One of the effects of this molecular interaction between the drug and receptor is in increasing dopamine activity in key brain regions.
Dopamine is an important neurotransmitter, in part responsible for the effects of the drug. Also, dopamine is associated with the brain’s reward system—meaning that people experiencing this type of dopaminergic activity will value the sensation and try to repeat it in the future. This leads to abuse of the drug and, as previously mentioned, some of the effects of abuse include tolerance, physiological dependence and, ultimately, addiction.