OxyContin, or Oxycodone, is one of the most frequently prescribed painkillers in the United States. As a synthetic opioid, OxyContin has some of the same effects as morphine and heroin, but is often significantly stronger, available in controlled doses through a prescription, and extremely popular as a recreational drug for its euphoric properties. Today, millions of Americans struggle with addictions to opiates and opioid drugs, and OxyContin is one of the most frequently abused. 

If you or a loved one is using OxyContin recreationally, OxyContin addiction treatment is an option. Millions of people accidentally become addicted to painkillers through a prescription, which then goes on to affect quality of life, impact job and social relationships, and even put individuals directly in harm’s way. There is help. 


OxyContin is one of the most popular brand names of Oxycodone, a synthetic opioid first derived in 1916. OxyContin itself was released in 1996 as a controlled-release form of the drug, extending the duration of oxycodone to up to 12 hours. When taken in pill or patch form, the drug dulls pain, causes lethargy, and relax the body. When crushed and injected, Oxycodone causes euphoria, relaxation, and a heightened sense of pleasure. 

However, most users begin using OxyContin according to prescription. Here, tolerance often builds up, causing individuals to take more and more of the drug to reach the same level of effect. This can lead to chemical dependence and then addiction.



OxyContin addiction is characterized by frequent illnesses (cold and flu symptoms), taking pills outside of a normal prescription schedule, hiding pills, always taking pills along or being obsessed with them, purchasing pills outside of a prescription, and otherwise behaving recklessly around pills.


Many people also show physical symptoms such as: 

  • Chronic fatigue 

  • Loss of interest in social or family connections of hobbies 

  • Mood swings and irritability 

  • Confusion or lack of concentration 

  • Frequent cold and flu symptoms 

  • Nausea and vomiting 

  • Constant thirst/loss of appetite

  • Changes in sleeping pattern or insomnia 

Any time someone is taking OxyContin outside of their prescription, they are abusing it. If you suspect that your loved one may be abusing their pain pills, it’s important to plan a discussion and, if necessary, talk to their doctor. 


OxyContin is highly addictive and can cause physical dependence very quickly. Withdrawal symptoms can be moderate to severe, typically depending on the dosage and length of time the user took the drug. Here, individuals typically experience an early-stage withdrawal where they experience discomfort, agitation, increased blood pressure and heart rate, cold and flu symptoms, and sleeplessness or agitation.


This stage begins 12-14 hours after the last dose and lasts for about 10 hours. 


Acute withdrawal begins after about the first 24 hours. Patients experience worsening symptoms, nausea and vomiting, blurry vision, muscle cramping, and pain. These symptoms can be severely discomfiting but are rarely life threatening. 
Here, most detox centers will offer medical monitoring and may offer medication to reduce the severity of the symptoms. 



OxyContin is a highly addictive drug and it does cause damage, put people at risk of health problems, and increases the risk of moving on to more dangerous street drugs like heroin. Addiction treatment is essential to recovering from a substance use disorder, helping users to move past not just physical dependence but also mental addiction and the underlying behavioral problems behind the addiction.

If you or someone you know or love is struggling with a substance use disorder, a rehabilitation facility can help. Opioid addiction therapy includes cognitive behavioral therapy, counseling, and group therapy to help individuals move past addiction, build life skills to cope with cravings and stress, and move on to a happy and drug free life.