Oxycontin (Oxycodone) Addiction

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OxyContin (oxycodone) is an effective short-term painkiller that is also associated with abuse and addiction.

This guide highlights the signs and dangers of oxycodone abuse. Learn how Oxy addiction can develop quickly and discover how to detox and engage with evidence-based treatment if you are addicted to OxyContin.

What is OxyContin?

OxyContin is a branded version of oxycodone. Oxycodone is an opioid and the active ingredient in many prescription painkillers indicated for the management of moderate to severe pain.

This medication is among the most abused of all prescription drugs in the U.S. and goes by many street names, including:

  • Hillbilly heroin
  • OCs
  • Oxy
  • Killers
  • Oxycotton

OxyContin tablets come in different sizes and colors to reflect different strengths of Oxy (20mg, 40mg, or 80mg). Tablets are designed to be swallowed whole so that the controlled-release mechanism ensures a steady stream of pain relief.

Those who abuse OxyContin non-medically often bypass this extended-release action by crushing Oxy tablets and snorting the powder or injecting the tablets after dissolving them in water. OxyContin abuse can be dangerous and potentially life-threatening.

Is Oxycodone Addictive?

The DEA (U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration) classifies OxyContin as a Schedule II controlled substance. Drugs in this schedule have some medical utility combined with a high potential for abuse and addiction.

OxyContin works by attaching to opioid receptors located in the brain, triggering relaxation and euphoria, as well as relieving pain.

If you take OxyContin for an extended period, tolerance to the drug forms, diminishing its effects and prompting many people to take more oxycodone or more frequent doses to counter tolerance. Any form of Oxy abuse will accelerate the development of physical dependence.

When you become dependent on OxyContin, you will require the medication to function normally, and you will experience withdrawal symptoms when the effects of Oxy wear off. OxyContin dependence can develop rapidly, even when the opioid is used as prescribed for pain relief. Addiction often but not always follows.

How Long Does It Take to Get Addicted to Oxycodone?

The amount of time it takes to become addicted to oxycodone may vary depending on factors that include the dosage and frequency of use, as well as personal factors like genetics and mental health. That said, addiction to oxycodone can develop within a short time frame – sometimes as little as two weeks.

If oxycodone is used as prescribed, the risk of addiction is relatively low. However, when oxycodone is taken at higher doses or more frequently than prescribed, or when Oxy is used recreationally, addiction often develops much more quickly.

Additionally, long-term use of oxycodone can lead to physical dependence, which can make it harder to stop using the drug without experiencing intensely uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms present within a few hours to a few days after the last use of OxyContin, persisting for 7 to 10 days.

Signs of Oxycodone Addiction

The signs of OxyContin addiction will vary from person to person. Some markers of opioid abuse may be evident soon after the onset of opioid therapy. Other signs may not become detectable for months.

These are some common Oxycontin addiction signs:

  • Mood swings
  • Weight loss
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Drowsiness
  • Loss of coordination
  • Isolating behaviors
  • Reduced fitness levels
  • Poor standards of personal hygiene
  • Doctor shopping to get more OxyContin

If you identify several of these signs of opioid abuse in yourself or a loved one, watch out for the development of OxyContin addiction in the form of opioid use disorder.

OxyContin addiction is diagnosed according to DSM-5-TR criteria. DSM-5-TR is the revised fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. American Psychiatric Association’s benchmark diagnostic tool outlines the following symptoms of OxyContin addiction:

  1. Spending lots of time using OxyContin and recovering from its effects.
  2. Trying and failing to control or discontinue the use of opioids.
  3. Taking more OxyContin than intended or using OxyContin longer than planned.
  4. Experiencing intense cravings for OxyContin.
  5. Neglecting personal and professional obligations due to OxyContin use.
  6. Continuing use of OxyContin even though it creates problems in your relationships?
  7. Tolerance to OxyContin developing meaning that you need more Oxy to achieve the initial effects.
  8. Spending less time on hobbies and interests in favor of using opioids.
  9. Using OxyContin in dangerous situations.
  10. Withdrawal symptoms manifesting in the absence of OxyContin.
  11. Ongoing OxyContin use even though it is causing or inflaming a physical or mental health condition.

OxyContin addiction is diagnosed as follows: mild (2 or 3 criteria), moderate (4 or 5 criteria), or severe (6 criteria or more).

Features of OxyContin Addiction Treatment

The most effective treatment for OxyContin addiction begins with a supervised medical detox. The benefits of a medical detox include:

  • Beating physical dependence on OxyContin.
  • Streamlining the withdrawal process.
  • Monitoring underlying medical conditions
  • Preventing relapse by reducing the severity of withdrawal symptoms.
  • Facilitating MAT (medication-assisted treatment) for OxyContin addiction in ongoing inpatient or outpatient treatment that involves the administration of FDA-approved medications with behavioral interventions.

MAT is proven effective for the treatment of opioid use disorders like OxyContin addiction. Buprenorphine and naltrexone may mitigate cravings and withdrawal symptoms during Oxy detox. Methadone may be beneficial for promoting abstinence from opioids during ongoing treatment for OxyContin addiction.

Medication-assisted treatment is most effective when combined with behavioral interventions like CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy). A therapist will help you to identify your personal triggers for OxyContin use. You will then create positive coping techniques to use when confronted by stress in your ongoing recovery from OxyContin addiction.

OxyContin Rehab at Ohio Community Health   

Whether you are addicted to prescription painkillers, heroin, or fentanyl, Ohio Community Health specializes in treating opioid addictions in Cincinnati.

If you require a supervised medical detox, we can help connect you with licensed medical detox centers in your area. Medications can streamline the intensity of opioid withdrawal and reduce cravings during detox. After a week or so, you can engage with an intensive outpatient treatment program at our treatment facility in Cincinnati.

All drug addictions respond positively to MAT (medication-assisted treatment) during detoxification and ongoing therapy. At Ohio Community Health, MAT is delivered alongside behavioral interventions like psychotherapy and counseling to produce the most favorable outcomes.

During your opioid addiction treatment, you will identify what triggers you to use opioids, and you will develop healthy coping strategies to use in your ongoing recovery. All Ohio Community Health treatment programs include a robust aftercare component due to the high relapse rates of opioid use disorder. When you are ready to start living free of opioids, we can help you from detox to discharge and beyond. Call (877) 679-2132 today for immediate assistance.

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Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.
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Christopher Glover CDCA

My name is Christopher Glover, and I am from Cincinnati, Ohio. I am currently in school and working to grow in competence to better support our community. As a recovering individual I know the struggles that you or a loved one can go through and that there is help for anything you may be struggling with.

The hardest part is asking for help and we are here as a team to best support you and your decision to start your journey towards a better future. Connect with Chris on LinkedIn

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Amanda Kuchenberg PRS CDCA

I recently joined Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers as a Clinical Case Manager. I am originally from Wisconsin but settled in the Cincinnati area in my early 20s.  My career started in the fashion industry but quickly changed as I searched to find my drive and passion through helping others who struggle with addiction. 

As someone who is also in recovery, I wanted to provide hope, share lived experience, and support others on their journey.  I currently have my Peer Recovery Support Supervision Certification along with my CDCA and plan to continue my education with University of Cincinnati so I can continue to aid in the battle against substance addiction. Connect with Amanda on LinkedIn.

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Patrick McCamley LCDC III

 Patrick McCamley (Clinical Therapist) is a Cincinnati native who has worked in substance use disorder/co-occurring mental health disorder treatment since 2019. Patrick received his bachelors degree in psychology from University of Cincinnati in 2021 and received his LCDC III (Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor) license from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board in 2022. Patrick has worked in Clinical Operations, Clinical Case Management, and Clinical Therapy throughout his career.

Patrick has tremendous empathy and compassion for the recovery community, being in recovery himself since 2018. Patrick is uniquely qualified to be helpful because of the specific combination of his academic background and his own experience in recovery.

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Bill Zimmerman CDCA

Bill Zimmerman is a Greater Cincinnati Area native who has worked in substance use disorder/co-occurring mental health disorder treatment since 2018. Bill received his (Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant) license from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board in 2020.

Bill has worked in Clinical Operations in both support and supervision, and Program facilitating and 12 step recovery support during his career. Bill has a passion for the recovery community, having been in recovery himself since 1982. Connect with Bill on LinkedIn

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Taylor Lilley CDCA, PRS

Growing up in Louisiana with addiction running rampant on both sides of my family. A life away from drugs and alcohol seemed impossible for someone like me. I remember what it was like sitting across from someone thinking there is no way they could ever understand what I was going through.

Sharing my experience offers a credibility and a certain type of trust with clients that only someone who has walked down this road can illustrate. To immerse myself further into the field of addiction, I am currently studying at Cincinnati State for Human and Social Services.  I hope I never forget where I came from, if I can do it, so can you!

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Thomas Hunter LSW

Hello my name is Thomas Hunter. I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. I am a licensed social worker.In my scope of practice I have worked in the areas of mental health and recovery for thirty years. The clients I have worked with in my career have ranged in age from seven to seventy.

I strive each day to serve my purpose of helping those in need and I believe I do so by utilizing all of my experiences to accomplish my goal of supporting those who desire to establish their sobriety and maintain it in their recovery. Connect with Thomas on LinkedIn.

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Mary D.Porter,LICDC

 My name is Mary D. Porter. I received my Masters of Social Work in 2008 from The University of Cincinnati. I received My Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor Licensure in 2001. I retired from The Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center on April 14, 2014. Currently, I am the Associate Clinical Director for The Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers in Cincinnati.. Due to the fourth wave of the Opioid Epidemic in 2019,  I decided to enter back into the workforce to assist the addicted population.

The overdoses were astounding and I wanted to help.  I consider myself  to be an advocate for the addicted population. My compassion, resilience, empathy, wisdom, knowledge, experience and  love I have for this forgotten population goes beyond words. I consider what I do for the addicted population as a calling versus a “career,” because I too was once an “addict and alcoholic.” Today I am 45.5 years alcohol and substance free.

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Ben Lemmon LCDC III

Hello, my name is Ben Lemmon, and I’m the Vice President and Clinical Director at Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers. I’ve been working in the addiction and mental health field since 2013 and decided to enter the field after overcoming my own challenges with addiction.

When I first meet a client, I always explain to them that the reason we are meeting is because they are not capable of obtaining or maintaining sobriety, and my goal is to create a person that can maintain sobriety. I believe a person’s personality is made up of their thoughts, feelings and actions and my job is to help clients identify the thoughts, feelings and actions that have them disconnected from recovery and provide them with the tools to live a healthy and happy life. Connect with Ben on LinkedIn