As prescription drugs have gained widespread use, they are increasingly falling into the hands of kids who are looking to experiment with easily accessible drugs. A survey at the University of Wisconsin found that one in five students have tried illicit prescription drugs. One such drug is OxyContin®, the brand name of the opioid analgesic whose active ingredient is oxycodone. OxyContin is a legal narcotic that is available by prescription to treat severe pain. It is also highly addictive. Unfortunately, it is increasingly being abused by kids who are seeking a high with accessible prescription drugs.
Oxycodone is an opiate – the category of drugs that are created from poppies which includes strong, addictive drugs such as morphine, codeine, and heroin. In fact, oxycodone is so addictive, users often compulsively abuse the drug despite the negative social, psychological, and physical consequences.
OxyContin is marketed as pills, however users have been known to crush or chew the drug, snort, or dilute the powder in water and inject it. This is an attractive way for users to partake of the drug because it sidesteps the time-release aspect of the tablet, giving users an instant, intense high similar to heroin. Yet, by crushing or chewing the tablets, the risks of the drug also increase. According to Edward Barbieri, a toxicologist at National Medical Services in Willow Grove, taking OxyContin in the crushed form can be deadly, particularly when mixed with other drugs or alcohol.
Some of the signs of oxycodone use include slow breathing, small, pinpoint pupils, confusion, tiredness, nodding off, or passing out; dizziness; weakness, apathy, cold and clammy skin, nausea, vomiting or seizures. These signs might be mistaken by friends or family as alcohol intoxication, however the real reason is much more insidious; And one that the person may not completely recover from.
Unfortunately, many parents didn’t find out about their children’s OxyContin abuse until it was too late. While there are incomplete statistics, OxyContin deaths since the drug’s release in the late 90s stands at more than 500. Some parents have sought to protect their teenagers against the danger of these drugs, by instituting an at-home drug test for their children.
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