POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 83 As originally published - Oxycontin Addiction OxyContin addiction is a relatively new, but very serious, concern. Like Vicodin addiction or other forms of prescription drug addiction, OxyContin addiction occurs when patients take high doses of this prescription drug for an extended period of time. Although these prescription drugs are intended for medicinal use only, OxyContin addiction, like Vicodin addiction, is an unfortunate occurrence. One of several opiates available by prescription, OxyContin is a powerful painkiller available in time-release tablets whose effects last for twelve hours. When used as prescribed, OxyContin manages pain for cancer patients and chronic pain sufferers. However, OxyContin addiction has created an entirely new set of problems. First introduced to the public in 1996, OxyContin is a white, odorless, crystalline powder derived from the opium alkaloid. A very strong narcotic, OxyContin is similar in effect to morphine. OxyContin addiction under a qualified physician's care is rare. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, however, many physicians limit prescribing OxyContin because they believe patients may become addicted to the drug. Because OxyContin is a time-released drug, taking one or more pills should not produce an effect attractive to drug addicts. When taken correctly, OxyContin does not produce euphoria. When the drug is released all at once, however, broken, crushed or chewed (as is the case with those experiencing OxyContin addiction), OxyContin produces a pleasant, euphoric feeling. OxyContin addiction can also cause overdose and death. People with OxyContin addiction acquire the drugs in a variety of ways, including forging fraudulent prescriptions, visiting several different doctors for prescriptions or buying the drugs illegally on the street. Because most health insurance companies will cover the costs of OxyContin, abusers can purchase the drugs at pharmacy prices, and then sell the OxyContin for wildly inflated street prices. Unfortunately, many of those suffering from OxyContin addiction have health insurance that will no longer pay for prescriptions. Because these addicts cannot afford the high street-level prices, they often switch to heroin; OxyContin and heroin have similar effects, so both drugs are attractive to the same abuser population. In fact, OxyContin is sometimes referred to as "poor man's heroin." Like other substance abuse problems, OxyContin addiction cannot be treated effectively at home, but requires close supervision by a trained medical professional. Because OxyContin addiction affects the brain's chemical make-up, drug abusers who attempt to detox at home will experience severe withdrawal symptoms. In a medical environment, these symptoms can be eased and the addict undergoing detox made more comfortable. Treatment Referral provides referrals to rehabs that effectively treat OxyContin addiction and other forms of substance abuse, addressing the behavior and thinking patterns that directly contribute to the individual's disease and ensuring patients have a meaningful recovery. If OxyContin addiction might be a problem for you or someone you love, we encourage you to give Treatment Referral a call today to learn more about our treatment options. 800.375.4577