Oxycodone is an opioid painkiller synthesized from the thebaine alkaloid of opium. Like other opium drugs, including heroin and morphine, oxycodone produces euphoria in high enough concentrations that is the primary reason it is abused.
We’ve all heard the horror stories about the effects of long-term heroin abuse and in many ways, oxycodone is no different. The misconception that it is a prescribed medication that reduces its dangerous potentials, like so many other opiate painkillers, is cause for alarm. The following are some of the long-term effects of Oxycodone abuse you should be aware of.
Oxycodone is Addictive
Oxycodone has a special propensity for leading to addiction. It comes in a variety of forms, dosage milligrams, combinations, and medication brands, including Percocet, OxyContin, Roxicodone, and more. By some estimates, oxycodone may be more potent than morphine in producing some of its euphoric effects and therefore, oxycodone drugs are high on the list of desired opioids for abuse and diversions on the street. According to the DEA 2014 National Drug Threat Assessment, “According to the National Seizure System (NSS), nearly 1.2 million dosage units of oxycodone were seized by law enforcement in 2013, up 535 percent from 2012. ”
Once you take oxycodone for a few days, whether for pain or to get “high”, tolerance and dependence are inevitable. You will need to use more of the drug to elicit the desired effects, suffer withdrawals when it is unavailable, and develop cravings for the drug whether you realize it or not. It’s a natural progression with any opioid drug and unless you abstain from use of oxycodone, things can get much worse quickly. Like heroin, oxycodone can take control over your thoughts, behaviors, body, and soul, becoming more important than anything else.
Oxycodone Abuse Increases the Risks of Rapid Delivery Consumptions
One of the most problematic long term effects of oxycodone abuse you should be aware of is that your tolerance building for the drug will never slow down even using them occasionally. Taking oxycodone orally can become insufficient and you are likely to progress to more rapid delivery methods such as crushing and snorting, smoking, or injecting them. Not only do you risk a fatal overdose, but, non-fatal overdoses can lead to permanent brain and organ damages or an early death from compromised health.
Disregard for the Dangers
Many oxycodone products are designed with abuse deterrent mechanisms such as invariable ingredients that will make you sick if you take too much and the extended or controlled release versions may have film coatings or beads that make injecting or snorting the drug less desirable and feasible. One of the long term effects of oxycodone abuse is a loss of inhibitions and reasoning that, despite the dangers involved in abusing these drugs, you may not care and end up like so many others finding your way around the mechanisms or consuming too much. According to Purdue Pharma L.P.,”the inactive ingredients in OXYCONTIN can be expected to result in local tissue necrosis, infection, pulmonary granulomas, and increased risk of endocarditis and valvular heart injury.”
Taking too much Percocet, which includes acetaminophen, can lead to long-term liver impairments, kidney damage, acetaminophen toxicity, and overdose. Acetaminophen toxicity is second only to alcohol in the cause of liver failure and the need for liver transplants.
Long Term Effects on Physical Health
You should be aware that every time you abuse Oxycodone, a number of physiological changes in your brain and central nervous system take place. Every process begins with a nerve cell that interacts with the next and the next and the next. Each time, the process is changed and the accumulated effects can cause chaos in your biological systems affecting hormones, organ functioning, metabolism rates, and every single part of your overall physical health.
Sadly, many of these things go unnoticed or are disregarded by the oxycodone abuser leading to more complications and compromises in their health. They often end up with diabetes, pulmonary and cardiovascular diseases, communicable disease, or infections that can lead to muscle or arterial damages, sometimes, requiring amputations, and circulatory problems from IV use.
Long Term Effects on Mental Health
Repeat abuse of oxycodone impairs cognition, memory, emotions, and behaviors that can result in many negative and life-altering circumstances. The psychological burdens of guilt, depression, anxiety, and even schizophrenia, can make every day a struggle and suicide may become appealing. Mood swings, aggression, and violent outbursts can become long term effects of oxycodone abuse as a result of neurological damages or frequent disruptions and stress in relationships, finances, or other environmental issues.
Long Term Effects on Family
Family members suffer from oxycodone abuse as well, especially, children who are neglected or lack substantial parent-bonding.According to the Institute of Medicine (US),”Drug abuse leads to reallocation of economic support away from the family; lack of participation in family activities, including caregiving; lack of emotional commitment and support for parents and children; and the inability to provide a reliable and adequate role model for other family members, especially children. This impact on the family affects children’s development, learning, and social relations whether or not actual child abuse and neglect occur.”
Reduced quality of life is a long term effect of oxycodone abuse you should be aware of. Many oxycodone abusers become unable to take care of their basic survival needs including food and shelter as they invest their time and money into their abuse. Loss of employability can lead to financial ruin and possibly criminal behaviors in order to obtain the drugs. Oxycodone is a controlled substance and if caught possessing it illegally, or selling it which abusers often do to support their habits, the consequences of a conviction are long-lasting and far-reaching making employment even less attainable.