Signs and Symptoms of Oxycodone Abuse


Oxycodone is a strong, semi-synthetic opiate painkiller sold in the US, Europe and Australia. It was a godsend for people in severe, debilitating pain such as those with bone or neurological degeneration, or those who suffered from end-stage cancer or similar illnesses. Oxycodone provided pain relief for the first time to some people who had suffered for years.

Signs of Oxycodone Abuse

Other than a drug test, one can use the following symptoms to detect oxycodone or OxyContin abuse:

  • Drowsiness, sometimes to the point of nodding off
  • Sedation
  • Euphoria
  • Lightheadedness
  • Itching
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Low blood pressure
  • Respiratory suppression
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Sweating

Constricted pupils, although overdose may bring about dilated pupils.

Overdose deaths can occur due to respiratory suppression, especially when oxycodone or any opiate is combined with another drug that suppresses respiration, like another opiate, benzodiazepines or alcohol.

If a person is unable to get his (or her) usual dose of oxycodone, they will begin to suffer from withdrawal symptoms. He will be restless, agitated and sweaty. He’ll suffer from muscle and bone pain, depression, diarrhoea, chills, insomnia, vomiting and nausea.

Other Signs of Oxycodone Abuse

Oxycodone, in formulation as OxyContin or other pills, is a highly addictive drug. One of the signs that a person is using this drug will include addiction and addictive behaviour.

In many cases, the person who is addicted didn’t start out abusing the drug but took it exactly according to the doctor’s instruction. But opiates result in a person building up a tolerance. That means that after a 20 milligramme dose is taken for a while, it no longer handles the person’s pain and they must increase the dose to 40 milligrammes, and so on. A person who has been using opiates for a long time can take a dose that would kill a person who was new to the drug. This person can end up with a problem when the dosage the doctor prescribes is not enough. He may begin seeking more drugs through illegal means like doctor-shopping.

Stealing for Drug Addiction

Other people started out abusing the drug and then becoming addicted to it. They may steal the drug, buy it from drug dealers, doctor-shop or use any means they can to keep themselves supplied and prevent withdrawal.

When a person is addicted, getting the drug they need becomes the most important thing to them. If they have ever gone through a full-blown withdrawal, they may have a horror of ever going through it again. An addicted person may start neglecting health, family, work and other responsibilities. There may be money or items in the home missing, or items belonging to other people may be missing. The person may start offering excuses for every problem that comes up - but none of the many problems are their fault.

A family may not realise that their loved one is addicted to oxycodone unless they compare the person’s behaviour to this description.

Leaving Oxycodone Addiction Behind

When a person is addicted to an opiate like oxycodone, it is possible to get clean at last, and stay that way. Some people have been through so many rehab programmes that they may have given up on trying finding lasting sobriety. But at Narconon drug and alcohol rehabilitation programmes around the world, it is still possible to find sobriety.

The Narconon programme is long-term, giving people time to find real recovery. The physical and mental damage done by addiction to oxycodone must be repaired and the person must learn the life skills that will keep him safe for the rest of his life. By learning these skills, each person also learns how to overcome the problems that may have driven him to abuse drugs in the first place.

It’s an effective programme with a common-sense foundation. No drugs are ever used as part of treatment. So addiction ends the day the person walks in the door of a Narconon drug recovery centre. Find out more today.

Oxycodone has been marketed in dozens of different formulations, including:

  • Endocet
  • Oxycocet
  • OxyFast
  • Oxygesic
  • Percodan
  • Percocet
  • Roxicet
  • Roxicodone

The most popular and well-known formulation by far has been OxyContin, manufactured by Purdue Pharma. Purdue’s formulation was time-release, meaning that it would last longer than some other formulations. At first, it was thought that this formulation would prevent abuse, but it turned out to be very easy to get around this mechanism and get the full effect of the drug immediately, which is said to be very similar to using heroin.

While heroin and oxycodone or OxyContin are usually sold on very different channels, the physical and emotional signs and symptoms of using these drugs are fairly similar. Abusers of oxycodone may also abuse oxymorphone, hydromorphone, hydrocodone or fentanyl, all with similar symptoms.

Recent Change in OxyContin Formulation

In 2010, the Food and Drug Administration required Purdue Pharma to change the formulation of OxyContin to make it harder to abuse. The pill is now formulated so it can’t be crushed or dissolved. But a person can still abuse the drug by swallowing too much of it. Many people who were abusing OxyContin have switched to other types of opiates, even heroin, which has resulted in some overdose deaths.

Also see Effects of Oxycodone


Sign up free to receive our email newsletter: