Opioids in America
The Opioid Crisis has had harsh effects on the country in recent years. According to White House data, in 2016 more than two million Americans had an addiction to prescription or illicit opioids, that same year nearly 175 Americans died from a drug overdose every day, with many of those attributed to opioids. In 2017, President Donald Trump has declared it a nationwide public health emergency.
One opioid that has gotten a lot of buzz in the past few years is fentanyl, rightfully so. However, one synthetic opioid that is constantly abused and runs a great risk of overdose and death is oxycodone.
What is Oxycodone?
Oxycodone, sometimes known more broadly by its marketed brand name Oxycontin, is a narcotic analgesic meaning it is used to treat and relieve pain. However, it is considered one of the more popular drugs of abuse among the narcotic abusing population, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency.
Oxycodone is synthesized from poppy plants and is sold pharmaceutically in 10, 20, 40, and 80-milligram extended-release tablets. But, the drug is often abused orally or intravenously, with users electing to crush and sniff the tablets or dissolve them in water to be injected. Users sometimes choose to inhale the vapors as well.
Because the drug is a pain reliever, euphoria and relaxation are the two most common effects of the drug on the brain. Some of the physiological effects that the drug has on the body include:
- Pain relief
- Respiratory depression
- Cough suppression
Chronic use of the drug can also lead to severe liver damage.
It is possible to overdose on oxycodone which can prove to be deadly for some people. Some effects seen during an oxycodone overdose include:
- Muscle weakness
- Shallow breathing
- Slow heart rate and low blood pressure
- Vomiting and nausea
- Coma or seizures
Large overdoses can cause a user to stop breathing and die quickly if not treated right away. An overdose can also involve other organs if other drugs are involved which can also impact a person’s chance of survival.
Even if an overdose proves not to be fatal, it can still lead to permanent brain damage if treatment is delayed.
Case Study: Oxycodone in Oklahoma
There are many states around the country that have been disproportionately affected by oxycodone, Oklahoma is one example. According to data provided by the Oklahoma State Department of Health, from 2007 to 2016, there were 1370 overdose deaths that were attributed to oxycodone, meaning that the drug was present in just over 20 percent of all overdose deaths in the state during that same period. The number of oxycodone deaths in the state peaked in 2013, with 165 deaths but has still remained fairly consistent over time. Due to the increased amount of overdoses in Oklahoma, it has led to the opening of more drug rehab facilities to help those in need get treatment.
During this same period of time, fentanyl, which has received vastly more national media attention, has been attributed to 555 overdose deaths in the state. While many other states have been hurt by the rise of fentanyl, there are a number of other substances that are still crippling certain parts of the nation.
The Drug Epidemic… In Conclusion
The drug epidemic in the country is a multifaceted issue that doesn’t have one simple solution. However, bringing awareness to the whole of the problem is one of the first steps to finding a resolution. At Landmark Recovery, a drug and alcohol rehab facility, we are dedicated to being a part of the solution and helping as many patients as we possibly can. Our staff can help patients receive the individualized care that they need to fight the battle of addiction.
Bio – Matthew Boyle
Matthew Boyle is the Chief Operating Officer of Landmark Recovery which has been expanding rehabs centers in Oklahoma City. He has been working in the healthcare space for 7 years with a new emphasis on recovery. Before his ventures into healthcare, Matthew graduated from Duke University in 2011 Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree. After Duke Matthew went on to work for Boston Consulting Group before he realized where his true passion lied within Recovery. His vision is to save a million lives in 100 years with a unique approach to recovery that creates a supportive environment through trust, treatment, and intervention.