Current research shows that more than two million Americans have serious problems related to the use of opioid painkillers. Among these people, the source of the problem is often abuse of the medication oxycodone. If you abuse this medication, you may need an opioid treatment program to help you regain your sobriety. Why is oxycodone so addictive? The answer to this question is partly in the general effects of all opioid substances. It also lies in the medication’s intended purpose and its chemical details.
The General Effects of Opioids
Opioids are a diverse family of natural, semisynthetic, and fully synthetic substances. These substances differ in some important ways. However, they share one key property in common. Namely, their repeated use can set the stage for addiction.
Why is this true? All human beings have sites in their nervous systems called opioid receptors. These receptors allow opioids to reach your brain. Once inside your brain, opioids alter the way it functions. The two most notable effects of this alteration are:
- Extreme feelings of pleasure known as euphoria
- Reduced sensitivity to pain
Occasional use of opioids only temporarily changes the way your brain works. However, repeated abuse has a much more drastic effect. First, it can lead to a long-term physical need to take more opioids. It can also lead to an emotional need for opioids. In addition, repeated opioid abuse can alter your behavior. Specifically, it can cause you to involuntarily seek out and take more opioids. This step-by-step process leaves you addicted to any and all opioid substances.
Oxycodone’s Intended Purpose
Is oxycodone addictive because it’s an opioid? Yes. However, this fact alone doesn’t adequately explain the risks associated with the medication. To get a clearer idea of the problem, we need to look at the designated medical purpose of oxycodone.
Oxycodone is not used to treat all forms of pain. Instead, doctors only use it to treat pain that:
- Is moderate-to-severe in intensity
- Occurs 24/7 for extended amounts of time
- Doesn’t respond to weaker kinds of painkillers
Oxycodone must have greater potency than many other opioid medications to fulfill its intended purpose.
The Chemical Formula Is Part of What Makes Oxycodone So Addictive
Oxycodone is probably best known as the brand-name medication OxyContin. Each dose of OxyContin contains a relatively large amount of oxycodone. However, the medication is an extended-release product. This feature means that its oxycodone content doesn’t enter your bloodstream all at once. Instead, it is released gradually over several hours.
What does this have to do with the question of why is oxycodone addictive? If OxyContin is tampered with and crushed, it loses its extended-release properties. Instead, all of its oxycodone content hits your system at the same time. Repeated use of such large amounts of oxycodone can speed up the pace of opioid dependence. In turn, it can also speed up the pace of opioid addiction.
Today, a crush-resistant version of OxyContin makes it much harder to tamper with the medication. However, it doesn’t eliminate the possibility that tampering will occur. Additionally, some people with an oxycodone addiction may seek the drug illegally, which could be cut with more potent opioids like fentanyl.
More on Why Oxycodone Is So Addictive from Northpoint Colorado
Is oxycodone addictive? Yes, without a doubt. In fact, it has a higher potential to trigger addiction than many other opioids. Want to learn more about the risks associated with oxycodone? Northpoint Colorado has the information you need.
Northpoint Colorado is also your source for state-of-the-art opioid treatment. Whether you have problems with oxycodone or another drug or medication, we provide you with crucial, customized recovery support. To get started, just call us today at 970.579.4569 or fill out our online form.