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By now, many are aware of the national epidemic of prescription drug abuse which is taking place. Much of the abuse centers on prescription painkillers. Opioids like OxyContin have become sought after by citizens of many ages and occupations looking for a quick escape from reality. Sadly, even teenagers are caught up in the current plague of addiction to prescription painkillers. For teens, the drug Roxicodone has become a favorite and has proven to be a gateway drug for heroin.
Both OxyContin and Roxicodone are forms of the drug Oxycodone. Oxycodone is a powerful painkiller. It is one of several drugs referred to as opioids because of their similarities to opium in terms of effect. In the past Oxycodone was regularly combined with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) medications like aspirin and ibuprofen. These over-the-counter NSAIDs boosted the effect of Oxycodone in reducing inflammation and fever and providing moderate pain relief. OxyContin represented a new form of Oxycodone, one that was unmixed with these NSAIDs.
OxyContin initially had a time-release coating so that the pain relief of the Oxycodone was delivered over a period of several hours. It was not long, however, before abusers found that the drug could be crushed to avoid the time-release control. Once crushed, the drug could be snorted or injected to give a powerful rush of unadulterated Oxycodone. Abuse of the drug was so rampant in rural parts of the country that it quickly came to be called hillbilly heroin. Eventually OxyContin abuse became so widespread that in 2011, the makers of the drug re-formulated it to make it harder to crush and abuse.
Users then turned to Roxicodone since it was in a form which could still be crushed. Teens who abuse the drug call it “roxie” for short, although it is also referred to as ‘blues’. Statistics show that teen use of Roxicodone is on the upswing as is teen use of heroin. In fact, many believe that teen infatuation with Roxicodone explains the parallel rise in heroin abuse among young people. After all, Roxicodone can cost as much as one dollar for one milligram but Heroin, by comparison, costs as little as $50 per gram. The two drugs offer similar effects but heroin is considerably less expensive and therefore makes an affordable replacement for teens.
Roxicodone abuse is troublesome for a number of reasons. First of all, like all the opioid drugs, Roxicodone will not always remain effective at the same dosage. The human body develops a tolerance for these pain relievers and within a space of time the person will need more of the drug in order to get the same effect. In addition to the body’s physical tolerance, most users develop a psychological attachment to the drug. Even though the body does not physically require the drug, the person feels such an intense dependence upon Roxicodone that they feel as though they really do require it.
For this reason, a person should rarely simply stop taking Roxicodone. Normally, it is best for the person to slowly taper off their use under the supervision of a doctor and later under the care of a detox program. Weaning off of Roxicodone this way can reduce or even eliminate the experience of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.