Where does Oxycontin come from? Like all opiates, Oxycontin has its origin in the poppy plant. Called opiates, such drugs are derived from the opium in the poppy plant. The opium alkaloid, Thebaine, is extracted from the plant and refined in a lab to produce Oxycontin. The opium plant is the source for codeine and morphine. Oxycontin is a synthetic version of morphine and a derivative of codeine (Karch, 2007).
What does Oxycontin look like? Oxycontin comes in different strengths, and is a round tablet. At the right, the picture shows four different size and color capsules of Oxycontin marked 10, 20, 40, and 80, representing how many milligrams are in each tablet. It also comes in 15, 30, 60, and 160 milligram doses (The Partnership, 2011).
How is Oxycontin abused? Because it is a timed-release formula, it has a special coating that allows it to be absorbed slowly, over the course of 12 hours. Abusers remove the coating, generally crushing the tablets, and swallow or inject it (The Partnership, 2011).
What do Oxycontin users say about it? It’s a free high, straight from your parent’s medicine cabinet. It provides a rush of euphoria a lot like heroin (also a synthetic version of morphine). It’s fun and it’s ‘just’ a prescription drug (The Partnership, 2011).
Why is Oxycontin dangerous? The most common cause of death by Oxycontin overdose is respiratory arrest, like other opiates. It acts on the area of the brain that controls lung function and breathing rate, causing a suppression of these functions. Among other things, it can lead to apnea and sudden death (Rassool, 2008).
What is the prevalence of Oxycontin use in high schools? An enormous 1 in 5 teenagers has abused some form of prescription pain killer, often Oxycontin, in their lifetime. Parents and grandparents need to be aware of this massive trend and take appropriate protective measures, such as disposing of unused prescriptions and using a safe for any potentially mind-altering prescriptions (The Partnership, 2011).
How can I tell if someone is using Oxycontin? Prescription bottles may disappear from the cabinet. The individual may have acquired prescription bottles without apparent illness. Eating patterns and sleeping patterns will most likely be disrupted (The Partnership, 2011). What else do I need to know about Oxycontin? Abusing Oxycontin, or any other prescription pain killer, is just as addictive, dangerous, and deadly as using Heroin. Justifications about its being a prescription mean nothing when the effects are so serious. Anyone addicted to Oxycontin needs professional treatment (The Partnership, 2011).
Karch, S. (2007). Addiction and the Medical Complications of Drug Abuse. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
Rassool, H. (2008). Alcohol and Drug Misuse; A Handbook for Students and Health Professionals. NY, USA: Routledge.
The Partnership at Drugfree.org (2011). Drug Guide; Information for over 40 commonly-abused drugs. Retrieved January 30, 2011 from http://www.drugfree.org/drug-guide.