OxyContin is a powerful pain medication that falls into the category of opioids. It is used for the treatment of moderate to severe pain. In its generic form, it is known as oxycodone. One of the main ingredients is thebaine which is an organic chemical found in opium.
The effects of OxyContin last for up to 12 hours and this makes it ideal for people who are suffering from pain relating to cancer, arthritis, and serious injuries.
OxyContin is a Schedule II drug and it has a high potential for abuse like others in this category. OxyContin can and should be consumed orally as a whole pill. However, some people crush the tablets into a powder and then snort it or mix it with liquid and inject it.
If you abuse oxycodone, you may overdose and this can put you at risk of death. While any type of oxycodone abuse is risky and damaging to your health, some methods of ingestion are riskier than others. Below, our Asheville drug rehab professionals detail the dangers of snorting and injecting OxyContin.
Why Snorting OxyContin is Dangerous
If you snort OxyContin, the drug will be quickly absorbed through the nasal membranes. It will then go into the blood and begin to act quickly. If you crush and snort this drug repeatedly, you may experience frequent sinus infections.
If you keep using, your nasal tissues may start to break down and this can cause irreversible damage to your nasal cavity. In particularly serious cases, there may be total tissue death.
Dangers Associated with Injecting OxyContin
Some people mix powdered OxyContin with water to facilitate injection. They may inject it into the veins, muscle or skin. Using a drug via injection introduces risks beyond those posed by the drug itself.
For example, there’s the risk of contracting hepatitis, HIV and other illnesses transmitted by blood if needles and other paraphernalia are shared. The World Health Organization estimates that ten percent of all new HIV infections result from the injection of drugs.
Another consideration is the increased risk of overdose. Any type of drug use can result in overdose but injection is especially dangerous. In addition, crushed OxyContin may contain solid pieces of tablet. If they get into the bloodstream, the particles can create blockages that cause kidney problems and circulation issues.
Dangers Linked to Both Injecting and Snorting
OxyContin pills are designed to release oxycodone slowly over time. If you use the drug in a way that’s not intended, such as injecting it or snorting it, you disrupt the time-release element. All of the oxycodone is released into the body at one time.
It is this intense euphoria that causes users to abuse the OxyContin. However, not allowing the drug to be released over time increases the risk of overdose leading to death.
The Difference Between the Usual Side Effects and Overdose
People who use oxycodone as intended for a short period usually experience mild side effects. They usually go away within a couple weeks.
Common side effects include:
- Dry mouth
- Increased sweating
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
Meanwhile, signs of overdose include:
- Excessive sweating
- Breathing difficulty
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of consciousness
- Rapid heartbeat
- A bluish tint of the fingers or lips
- Pinpoint pupils
Overdose is a medical emergency and if you notice someone with these symptoms, you need to get them prompt medical attention. Many people who overdose on OxyContin are addicted to the drug and after being treated for the overdose, they need professional addiction treatment.
Treatment for OxyContin Addiction
People who are addicted to strong narcotics often need medication to help them reduce their dependence. Medical professionals often prescribe buprenorphine to help individuals make the transition.
Buprenorphine is an alternative to methadone and it is available as Subutex and Suboxone. Subutex is pure buprenorphine while Suboxone combines buprenorphine with naloxone. Naloxone is also used on its own to reverse overdoses for sufficient time to allow for emergency treatment.
These medications are used during the detox process and once that is completed, the individual can enter a rehabilitation program. Medication alone doesn’t heal addiction. Various types of therapy are necessary.
Ask About the Treatment Programs Offered by Asheville Recovery Center
If you or someone you love is dealing with an OxyContin addiction, you need to know that recovery is possible with the right treatment. Asheville Recovery Center offers a range of programs that can be customized to each individual’s needs. Call us today to learn more.