28 Feb How Long Does an Oxycontin (Oxycodone) High Last?
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Oxycontin, or oxy, is best known for its prescription-strength pain-relieving properties. It’s a common drug doctors prescribe to patients for a more comfortable recovery after operations. These effects are so powerful that it’s used to treat patients who are either battling severe pain or recovering from illnesses such as cancer.
The Center for Diseases Prevention and Control confirmed the leading cause of accidental death in the US is drug overdose. There were 52,404 fatalities due to opioid addiction in 2015. While Oxycontin can only be legally distributed by doctors, it is still an opioid of choice for many addicts. According to a 2016 study by the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality 20.5 million Americans, ages 12 and up suffered from addiction in 2015. Of that number, 2 million abused prescription substances.
Though oxy may appear to be widely accepted and is promoted to patients from medical experts, it’s chemical compounds and ease of obtaining the prescription medication have a high risk of developing an OxyContin addiction. Responsible users have the potential to become addicts even when following doctor’s orders.
What’s worse, addicts who use oxy have a higher risk of using heroin later in life. This is because an OxyContin high is like that of heroin, and once the body reaches a level of tolerance and grows increasingly ineffective to an oxy high, heroin often becomes the next step.
How OxyContin Hooks and Long-Term Dangers
Oxy greatly impacts the central nervous system. The central nervous system controls breathing, digestion, heart rate and pain signals. The painkiller triggers the brain to produce more dopamine by binding to the opioid receptors. Essentially the brain is rewired to function unnaturally and often damaged as a result of OxyContin abuse. Over time this becomes very dangerous because the brain can become dependent on the drug. Even after the pain is gone the opioid will send messages to the brain to pump dopamine. This throws the nervous system, and thus, breathing, heart rate, and digestion out of balance.
Long-term use of this drug can also cause users to become delirious and experience hallucinations. Kidney and liver failure and yellowing of the eyes and skin is also associated with a prolonged habitual use of Oxy. If taken while pregnant, a mother increases her baby’s risk of being born addicted to opioids, suffering from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and increases chances of delivering a stillborn baby or experiencing a miscarriage.
The Main Ingredient: Oxycodone
The main ingredient in OxyContin is Oxycodone. Released on the market in 1996, this chemical is designed to release high levels of pain relief over a period of 12 hours. Depending on how the user ingests the drug, this chemical can be released in merely minutes. For addicts who use opioids to get high, oxy intake is a gamble for their life. When Oxycodone is in the bloodstream with no present pain in the body, potent chemicals create a life-threatening environment. Since there is no pain for the drug to counteract, it spreads throughout every system in the body in unregulated measure. Therefore, even one dose of OxyContin can be fatal for anyone who is not in chronic pain.
Like any drug, the user can build a tolerance towards it. For someone who has never taken it, an Oxy high will at first come into effect quickly and will last multiple hours. However, as the user begins habitually taking the drug, the addict’s body will become accustomed to the chemicals. Eventually, higher doses are necessary to get a high that lasts.
Another factor to consider is the user’s body weight. Someone who is heavier will require a longer wait time for the drug to kick in. While a smaller individual will most likely feel the effects more quickly. Finally, one should consider the amount they are taking. Typically, OxyContin is prescribed in 10 – 80 mg doses. Users will take however much they need to get an oxy high and risk their life while doing so.
Methods of Taking OxyContin
Taking Oxy when your body doesn’t need pain relief or taking too much of the recommended dose, will result in a high at the risk of dying. The method of arrival can also determine how long it lasts.
OxyContin is prescribed with very specific instructions: swallow pill whole with water. This is the traditional and safe (when taking only the amount advised) way to take opioids. Doctors instruct patients to swallow whole for two reasons: 1) the sublingual method (dissolving pill under the tongue) does not safely release the pill’s chemicals and 2) the continual and extended release of pain relief is held in the pill’s coating.
The sublingual method allows Oxycodone to contact a major blood vessel leading directly to the heart. As a result, the full chemical makeup would hit the heart with the potential to cause serious heart damage, if not failure. Furthermore, once broken the pill’s continuous release coating is ineffective and Oxycodone is unleashed into the body all at once. This can cause serious side effects including seizures, slow or irregular breathing, and cardiac arrest.
With no timed release of the pain killer or if taken sublingually, the body will experience euphoric symptoms. Therefore, the primary oral method for addicts is chewing.
- Chewing – This is the most common way addicts ingest OxyContin. Chewing gains allows the body to more quickly absorb the chemicals. This method also results in the longest high reportedly ranging from 3 – 6 hours.
- Cutting – Although cutting leaves the time release coating partially on the pill, it destroys the chemical structure of the drug making it unsafe for the body. Some doctors have reportedly advised patients to cut OxyContin pills in half as their pain levels decrease. However, when no pain is in the body any amount of OxyContin can be dangerous or even deadly. Cutting the pill reportedly lasts for about 2 hours.
Another way users experience a high from OxyContin is by crushing and then snorting it through their nose. If you snort OxyContin, you run a high risk of damaging your nasal passages and can leave users with no sense of smell. Just like chewing, this method crushes the pill and runs a very high risk of death or overdose. This method reportedly gives an OxyContin high that lasts anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours.
Injecting OxyContin is done by first dissolving the pill in water and then injecting it into a major vein through the skin. This is one of the most addicting ways to use Oxycodone because the injection high is immediate and strong.
There are many dangers that come with shooting opioids. When OxyContin is crushed the pill’s composition changes. Inside the pill are tiny granules and sticky substances. These particles are microscopic and cannot be seen with the naked eye. Once inside the blood stream, these granules can block blood capillaries. Blockages in the bloodstream can cause numerous infections, especially in the heart and lungs.
Another risk of injecting is the potential to collapse veins. Injecting with syringes also puts the user at a greater risk of contracting HIV/Aids and Hepatitis B & C. There is also a higher rate of contracting other viruses and developing boils/abscesses when injecting. The high is reported to fizzle out after a few minutes with a lingering drowsiness.
Plugging is very addictive as the drug bypasses the stomach and enters sensitive anal mucus membranes. The membranes absorb the oxycodone which injected in the body via anal glands. Because injection uses a dissolved solution of OxyContin and water the solution is in a dangerous uninhibited form. No time release coating means that the chemicals will be released all at once for a bodily reaction within minutes.
Smoking Oxycontin has a similar effect to heroin as the chemicals go straight to the brain. The effects last between 4 – 6 hours. Because this method’s effects are similar to that of heroin, users can become quickly addicted. Smoking is one of the most popular ways users get an OxyContin high. In addition to the chemical-laced filling of the oxy pills, smoke can also damage lungs and cause infections.
Oxycodone Withdrawal Symptoms
Upon quitting OxyContin, the body will be used to oxycodone existing in the bloodstream. As a result, the body will still try to compensate for the increased dopamine. Even if no pain was present before taking the pill, users will notice the pill’s negative impacts on the body once it leaves their system. This can result in severe back pain, joint pain, bone pain and other severe long-term health issues. The longer OxyContin is used, the more extensive the body will deteriorate. Because the drug affects all systems of the body damage is not limited to one part of the body. Habitual use of opioids can result in withdrawal. OxyContin is known for causing “flu-like symptoms” when the user stops taking it. If users experience any of the following symptoms their body is addicted to the drug and help should be sought out from a treatment center as soon as possible:
- Continuous pain in abdomen
- Hot and cold flashes
- Pounding heart or irregular heartbeat
- Severe sweating
- Runny nose
Because of its powerful substance, taking OxyContin with no present pain or taking more than instructed can easily cause an overdose. Call emergency help as soon as possible If any of the following symptoms occur:
- Extreme sleepiness / not able to wake up
- Slow or irregular breathing
- Elevated pulse and blood pressure
- Chest pain
- In and out of consciousness
- Confusion, feeling delirious or acting drunk
- Vomiting or nausea
- Very small pinpoint like pupils
- Severe constipation
- Blue-tinged skin around lips or under fingernails
- Feeling cold, clammy to touch
- No muscle tone/movement
The Risks of Becoming Addicted After Using OxyContin
For many users, OxyContin may begin as a harmless act. They may have been prescribed the drug by a doctor for a specific health problem. Even individuals with no addiction history are easy targets for addiction. If taking OxyContin per doctor’s orders, it’s critical to know your limits. To avoid the temptation of addiction when managing pain, OxyContin should be taken every 6 hours and should be swallowed whole. It’s imperative patients do not take any more of the drug than necessary or for a longer period of time than instructed. When oxy is being used under medical supervision it is still important to be aware of your pain levels and to acknowledge when the pain has diminished. Being honest with yourself and your doctor is the best way to prevent falling into an abusive habit with OxyContin.
Signs of Addiction
It’s important to know the signs of addiction when using OxyContin. Recognizing addictive behavior will help you or a loved one understand when, and if intervention, is needed. You or a loved one may suffer from addiction to oxy if the following symptoms are displayed:
- Taking doses for the high and not physical pain
- Going out of the way to purchase or find pills
- Neglecting other responsibilities to take pills
- Feeling anxious until the next dose
- Withdrawing from others and sleeping excessively
- Experiencing severe mood swings
- Hiding pill intake from others
- Pursuing possession of pills in midst of opposition from family, friends or finances
The Permanent Pay Off for A Temporary High
OxyContin effectively manages chronic pain and can make one feel high even when used as a prescription. If the line of addiction is crossed it is important to get help as soon as possible. Opioids – especially chronic opioid painkillers like OxyContin – are highly addictive and should not be taken lightly. For this reason, even the smallest dose of this drug is unsafe if the body is without pain. Without the excessive amounts of dopamine, which the body now assesses as normal, the body remains in a depressed state. This is when addiction is born. The payoff for a short-lived high can be a matter of life or death. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, there is hope. Regaining control over your body and the power of addiction may not be easy, but it is always possible.
How Georgia Drug Detox Can Help
If you’re suffering from an OxyContin addiction or another form of substance abuse, Georgia Drug Detox can help you get your life back with treatment. We offer medically assisted detox services to alleviate the discomfort of withdrawal in those crucial first days of your sobriety. With personalized oxycodone addiction treatment and one-on-one care, our team of doctors, nurses, and counselors can give you everything you need to start on the road to long-term recovery.
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