OxyContin is a time-released narcotic, used to control long-term, severe pain that cannot be controlled through other pain relievers. Because of its time-released properties, it is ideal for many patients who have needed frequent doses of pain relieving medication on a daily basis. These patients now only need to take one or two doses a day and they experience long lasting relief from their pain without those doses quickly wearing off and causing the pain to return. OxyContin has been a miracle drug for these patients.
The human body would not even know that it was injured or sick, if the brain did not recognize the presence of pain and transport that knowledge to the central nervous system. Narcotics, also referred to as opiates, work directly on the brain by attaching themselves to the parts of the brain that recognize pain. By attaching themselves to the pain receptors in the brain, narcotics can block the amount of pain that the body perceives. These receptors in the brain, referred to as opiate receptors, can also tell the brain if the body is experiencing feelings of pleasure. This means opiates not only attach themselves to these receptors to effectively stop the experience of feeling pain, in larger quantities, they can also cause the brain to experience feelings of euphoria and well-being. These feelings of euphoria are what drug abusers and addicts are seeking when they take opiates.
Opiates have been used to alleviate pain and create feelings of well-being, for centuries; Oxycodone, a synthetic opiate, has been used to alleviate severe pain for over 60 years; OxyContin, the long-acting form of Oxycodone, was introduced in 1995. Because it was designed to release its effect over several hours, it was able to safely contain high amounts of the drug, Oxycodone. Because of its long-term, gradual release of the narcotic, the manufacturers of the drug, along with doctors and pharmacists, believed the chances of abusing OxyContin were fairly low. It took a while before medical professionals found out what addicts and drug abusers figured out almost immediately: that crushing it and inhaling it through the nose, or dissolving it in water and introducing it directly into the blood stream by injecting it, circumvented the time-release properties of the medication and delivered the Oxycodone to the brain in full strength. This meant introducing the body to high amounts of Oxycodone at one time, creating intense feelings of euphoria in people who were acclimated to high doses of the drug. Tragically, it also caused death from overdose to many people whose bodies were not already accustomed to taking high doses of narcotics.
Because the manufacturing of oxycodone is closely regulated and monitored, it is always uniform and free of toxins or other substances that are frequently added to illegally produced drugs, such as heroin. These safety factors make the drug highly desirable among opiate addicts and opiate abusers. Because it is carefully manufactured and the use is strictly regulated, it is also much harder to obtain, illegally, from drug dealers on the streets. As with any product that is scarce but highly desirable, this makes it very expensive.
As with any opiate, the drug dosage does need to be increased, regularly, to maintain feelings of well being, and once the person becomes addicted to the drug, he or she becomes ill when the drug is not available and the last dose begins to wear off. Feelings of agitation, nausea, cramping and diarrhea quickly begin to develop if the drug is not obtained and snorted or injected. At this point, the brain has actually been altered and needs the drug to maintain any kind of homeostasis. The pleasure of drug abuse has tuned into the ordeal of drug addiction. The addict's entire life is soon devoted to nothing else but OxyContin and the life and loved ones that are not part of the addiction are soon forgotten and forsaken because of the constant pursuit of the drug.
Narcotic addiction is terribly complicated and most addicts require outside help if they truly desire to recover from their addiction. There are, fortunately, clinics, hospitals and counseling centers, in most large cities and many small towns that are devoted to helping addicts to withdraw from opiates and leave their addiction behind. The process is not an easy one, nor is it painless, but it can be accomplished.
Overcoming their addictions; reestablishing a healthy bond with family and loved ones; making smart career and educational choices, are all a part of the recovery process. Addiction treatment centers and clinics can help the addict to obtain all of this and more. Addiction recovery is hard and painful, but the joy of being free from the weight of addiction is one of the best feelings there is. With a little help, most addicts can return to a life that is meaningful and filled with hope and promise.