Opioid drugs (whether synthetic, semi-synthetic, or natural) are used for various needs, including treating chronic pain conditions, post-surgical pain, and several other disorders. Members of the medical community have prescribed opioid pain relievers for years, in ever-increasing numbers, believing newer medications they were prescribing were less addictive than those that came before. Unfortunately, this proved to be an inaccurate assumption. Some opioid drugs have proven to be highly addictive and potentially dangerous when abused for extended periods.
Across the nation, the “war on drugs” continues at the local, state, and federal levels. Despite ongoing efforts to reduce the number of prescriptions written for opioid drugs and increasing efforts by law enforcement to remove opioid drugs from “the streets,” the rates of addiction and fatality due to opioid overdose continue to rise.
Data from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed nearly two million Americans misused prescription painkillers for the first time within the past year. This means almost 5,500 people each day began using opioids for purposes other than those for which they were intended. Without proper addiction treatment at The Hills in Los Angeles, many who start misusing painkillers cannot get clean due to the intense, often dangerous withdrawal symptoms that arise when they reduce or stop using.
What is Roxicodone (Roxycodone)?
Roxicodone, commonly called “Roxy” or “Roxi,” is a widely used prescription medication. It is used to alleviate severe pain when other non-opioid painkillers are not effective. Roxicodone is a semi-synthetic opioid analgesic meaning it contains compounds isolated from natural sources (such as plants) as starting materials. Like synthetic opioids, semi-synthetic opioids are created in labs. However, they use naturally occurring ingredients as part of the medication formulary. The term analgesic means Roxicodone is a pain-relieving medication.
How Do Opioids Work?
Prescription opioids can be used to treat instances of moderate to severe pain. They are often prescribed for chronic health conditions where pain management becomes challenging or following surgery or injury. Opioids are classified as a schedule II substances due to their high risk of addiction. In fact, as many as one in four patients using long-term opioid therapy struggles with opioid addiction. In 2018, nearly 47,000 Americans lost their lives to opioid overdose period; of those, 32% involved prescription opioids obtained through legal prescriptions.
Opioids work by binding to and activating specific cells called opioid receptors. Opioid receptors are located in many areas of the brain and the spinal cord, and other organs throughout the body. They are especially prominent in areas involved in feelings of pain and pleasure. When opioids attach to these receptors, they act as a blocker of pain signals sent from the brain to the body. Additionally, they increase the amount of dopamine released in the body. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter specifically responsible for feelings of pleasure and joy. With long-term use, opioids can lead to physical and functional changes in how dopamine is released. Eventually, an individual who struggles with opioid use disorder is often unable to experience pleasure from typical day-to-day activities and without the use of opioids.
How are Roxicodone and Oxycodone Different?
Many people are familiar with oxycodone and other opioid drugs are used for pain management. It is important to distinguish how Roxicodone and oxycodone are different as they each have unique impacts on the user. Roxicodone works by affecting the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). Additionally, Roxicodone is an immediate-release tablet used to relieve moderate to severe pain. Oxycodone, on the other hand, is used for sustained pain relief in cases of chronic pain or post-surgical recovery. While Roxicodone Is highly effective in reducing moderate to severe chronic pain, it produces an immediate rush of pleasure that users want to repeat. This rush or sense of euphoria often leads to addiction.
Signs of Roxicodone Abuse
The signs and symptoms of Roxicodone abuse mimic those of other opioids. An opioid use disorder is a condition characterized by one’s ability to stop using despite the known harmful consequences or impacts on their day-to-day life and relationships. If you are concerned that a loved one is struggling with opioid use disorder, it is vital to seek comprehensive addiction treatment at an addiction treatment facility such as The Hills to ensure they receive the highest level of support and care as they work to overcome their addiction.
Some of the most common signs of opioid addiction include the inability to stop using, taking Roxicodone in an unprescribed or potentially dangerous way (such as crushing, snorting, smoking, or injecting), drug-seeking behaviors including an intense focus on obtaining or using Roxicodone without a prescription and increased use or increased dosages to maintain or obtain the same high they once got at the prescribed dose.
In addition to the above, Roxicodone abuse leads to various physical and behavioral symptoms. Factors such as increased tolerance and increased frequency of use play a role in the type and severity of the symptoms. Symptoms of Roxicodone abuse are often divided into categories, including mood disturbances, behavioral disturbances, psychological disturbances, and physical disturbances. Common mood changes include mood swings, anger, anxiety, and depression. Behavioral disturbances may include a loss of appetite, forging prescriptions, doctor shopping, impaired performance, and stealing from family and friends to buy Roxicodone.
Common psychological disturbances associated with Roxicodone use and abuse may include psychotic symptoms such as delusions or hallucinations. Physical disturbances include some of the more familiar visible signs of addiction, such as fatigue, weakness, gastric upset, breathing difficulties, chest pains, cardiac arrest, and seizures.
The Unknown Dangers of Roxicodone Use
Although the physical and psychological dangers of addiction are well understood, there are several dangers of Roxicodone many may be unaware of.
Research indicates that long-term opioid use is linked to brain damage. There are various ways this can occur. The first relates to respiratory depression. A short-term side effect of opioid use is decreased respiratory rate. If this happens for too long or too often, the brain and vital organs in the body can be deprived of oxygen. This condition is referred to as hypoxia. Hypoxia can lead to neurological damage and various other effects that may be long-lasting or permanent depending on the severity and duration of opioid use. The most significant dangers of hypoxia include coma and permanent damage to the brain.
Additionally, long-term opioid use may decrease the white matter in the brain. White matter is found deeper than the brain tissue and contains nerve fibers that allowed the parts of the brain and spinal cord to communicate. Damaged or diseased white matter impairs the ability of the nervous system to function. As a result of chronic opioid use can adversely affect decision-making abilities, self-regulation skills, and one’s ability to respond to stressful events or information.
Roxicodone Use Can Affect Pregnancy
The list of drugs a woman can take while pregnant is relatively short. In the overwhelming majority of cases, the list does not include opioid pain medications, many prescription drugs, or illicit opioids. For women who become pregnant while using Roxicodone, there are increased risks of miscarriage, premature delivery, and stillbirth. Additionally, an infant born to a mother who struggles with Roxicodone addiction may be born addicted and experience a condition known as neonatal abstinence syndrome. In short, neonatal abstinence syndrome or NAS is a condition in which the infant is born addicted to the same substance as the mom. Therefore, immediately after birth, the infant begins to experience withdrawal symptoms and must experience the full range of withdrawal symptoms before they can thrive without a dependency on the substance.
Counterfeit Pills Are Increasingly Common
It is not uncommon for pain killers bought “on the street” to be laced with other substances. In recent years, an increasing number of overdoses and deaths related to counterfeit or laced “blue pills” that appear to look like Roxicodone has occurred. In many cases, these pills are laced with fentanyl or other extraordinarily potent and highly dangerous chemicals. Because the pills look precisely like prescription Roxicodone, it is nearly impossible to tell laced pills apart from legal prescription medications. In states across the nation, counterfeit pills have led to overdose and death in individuals as young as age 12. Counterfeit synthetic opioids caused more overdose deaths in 2019 than any other opioid, including heroin. Synthetic and semi-synthetic opioids are believed to be responsible for more than 60% of all opioid-involved deaths. Random sampling by the Drug Enforcement Administration found that more than 25% of seized drugs contained potentially lethal doses of fentanyl. Because it is nearly impossible to tell counterfeit or “laced” Roxicodone apart from illegal prescription, the dangers of purchasing Roxicodone off the street cannot be overstated.
Regular use of opioids can cause your body to develop a tolerance to their effects. Tolerance often leads to physical (and psychological) dependence. When you are dependent on a substance and stop using it, painful and unpleasant symptoms can develop. In the case of opioid addiction, these symptoms, also called withdrawal symptoms, can sometimes be dangerous and even fatal. Many who struggle with opioid addiction and choose to withdraw “cold turkey” often fail and relapse as withdrawal symptoms become too overwhelming to manage. In a medically supervised detox setting like The Hills, highly trained medical staff can provide support and guidance as you complete the detox process. Detox is often a difficult process, but it is the first essential step on the journey to sobriety. Once detox is complete, it is possible to transition into a comprehensive addiction treatment program to begin your journey to overcoming addiction.
If you or a loved one are ready to overcome a Roxicodone addiction, do not wait another day to contact our luxury Los Angeles rehab. Our admissions team is here to answer any questions you may have about how addiction treatment at The Hills can help you defeat addiction start your journey towards a healthy, substance-free future.