Understanding the background of Oxycontin’s role in America’s opioid epidemic will help to explain why prescription drug addiction treatment is necessary.
OxyContin, Purdue Pharma’s brand name, an extended-release version of the narcotic oxycodone, was supposed to be a safe way to manage chronic and severe pain. Patients were promised a non-addictive, prescription-controlled opportunity to stop living in pain and start living everyday lives.
Unfortunately, that promise was far from the truth of what happened.
Because OxyContin is an opioid medication, many people who use it become hooked and feel unable to quit without help. Worse yet, the nature of opioids is that the body becomes adjusted to the current dosage quickly and begins needing more and more of the drug to feel even a baseline level of normalcy.
This is true even if a doctor prescribed the medication. In fact, between 1996, when brand-name OxyContin was released, until 2004, less than a decade later, seven million people had already become addicted to this drug that their doctors had promised was safe. Chronic pain patients were left with the awful choice to continue taking this addictive and dangerous medication or try to quit and transition to another form of pain management.
Unfortunately, many people wound up turning to street opioids, including heroin, after burning through their increasingly expensive prescriptions.
Is Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment Really Necessary?
Many people make the mistake of assuming that because a doctor prescribes OxyContin, it is less harmful than other opioids like heroin. While it’s true that dealers can’t lace prescription drugs with unknown substances, the safety stops there.
So many patients turn to heroin after using OxyContin because the two opioids act very similarly in the brain and body. It’s not just the effects of the drug that mimic heroin; the detox experience can be remarkably similar as well.
If you understand how difficult it can be for people taking heroin to quit on their own without help, then you also understand why prescription-addicted patients struggle just as much. Once addiction has set in, especially if the patient has transitioned to other opioids, starting a treatment program becomes one of the only reliable ways to escape the addiction.
What Can Patients Expect at a Heroin Addiction Treatment Center?
One of the most important aspects of quitting opioids is for patients to stay at a reputable facility where qualified medical staff can oversee the detox process. Opioid withdrawal can be highly uncomfortable. The most common symptoms include:1
- Aches and pains
- Runny nose and watery eyes
- Nausea and vomiting
If the patient has progressed to an advanced stage of addiction, especially if they have started using street drugs or combining prescriptions, withdrawal can even be dangerous or life-threatening.2 Because many withdrawal symptoms lead to a loss of water—vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, crying—dehydration is almost always a problem. If dehydration gets bad enough, it can cause heart failure and death.
In a detox facility, a doctor monitors the patient’s vital signs and hydration level and acts quickly to fix any problems before they arise and become dangerous. Additionally, medical treatments can make the unpleasant withdrawal process much more tolerable and comfortable.
Once the acute detox phase has ended, the patient can transition to more long-term recovery programs that focus on healing trauma and teaching skills to avoid falling into an addictive mindset.
Clear Life Recovery Offers OxyContin Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment
An addiction to prescription opioids doesn’t have to rule your life. Clear Life Recovery offers a specific OxyContin addiction treatment program and treatment for other opioids, prescription or not.
Come stay in our full-service treatment facility for the duration of your supervised medical detox, and then choose from long-term recovery options such as our residential rehab, intensive outpatient, or partial hospitalization programs.
Contact us to speak with our helpful team about which options are most suitable for your situation.