Many individuals like Sarah Morgan whose slide into addiction began with OxyContin often do not recognize the onset of dependence on this drug. The progression into addiction from prescription drugs may be subtle, but it is just as possible and equally deadly. In many OxyContin abuse stories, both the addict and their loved ones are asking, “How did you find yourself here?”
Unfortunately, the question for Sarah’s loved ones came as a result of her death rather than during her struggle with addiction. In her drug addiction story called “Picking Up the Pieces” Sarah’s sister Muchie Morgan points out that “No one sends you flowers when your loved one is an addict. No one brings you dinner, or floods your house with well wishes and sympathy cards. No one calls to ask how treatment is going, or tells you they know someone who knows someone who’s the best in their field and they’ll make some calls to get them the help they need. No one checks in to see if that new doctor has any fresh ideas, or if there have been any changes, or if there’s any ray of hope to hold on to” she said.
A misunderstanding of the potency and potential of prescription drugs like OxyContin to cause addiction can be deadly. Many falsely believe that because these drugs are approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and prescribed by physicians there is less danger attached to misuse of them than to illicit substances. However, there has been so many OxyContin overdose fatalities that it has initiated steps by the Federal Drug Administration to deter misuse of these substances.
The new guidelines published by the FDA include utilization of abuse deterrent technology and boxed warnings. The administration has also mandated reformulation of drugs like OxyContin, for example, to make it more difficult for these pain pills to be crushed or dissolved for their euphoric effects. Despite these steps there are still thousands of patients taking OxyContin today that are at risk of becoming dependent or suffering an overdose. As such it is important to be able to recognize the symptoms of an increasing tolerance for a prescription medication like OxyContin, whether it is being used for medical or non-medical reasons.
Signs of dependence on OxyContin includes:
The method of use can also indicate the presence of addiction to OxyContin. People are addicted or purely seeking the euphoric effects of this drug typically chew the pills, crush them into a fine powder to be snorted or dissolve the powder into water for intravenous administration. These methods have also been shown to drastically increase the risk of overdosing on OxyContin.
However, the FDA reformulated tablets are expected to make crushing them more difficult. No matter how dependence or addiction to OxyContin occurs, it may be necessary to seek treatment to halt chronic use of this drug. Participating in a customized comprehensive process of rehabilitation is also important to stop the progression of addiction as well as to provide sobriety maintenance tools that will help to minimize the potential for a relapse. The most important reason to get treatment for OxyContin abuse, dependence or addiction is to remove the risk of a drug overdose event.
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