Opioids are effective for pain management because they attach to certain proteins, called opioid receptors. These receptors are found throughout the body, specifically in the brain and spinal cord. When an opioid attaches itself to the brain or in the spinal cord, it modifies the way the body responds to pain. The brain will also respond to an opioid by providing a sense of pleasure or euphoria. Since an opioid can cause drowsiness or depress breathing, overuse could lead to respiratory failure, even with a single large dose.
On the street, OxyContin is also referred to as “Oxycotton,” “O.C.,” “Killer,” and “Hillbilly Heroin”. However, if taken as prescribed, it will not usually cause addiction. Dependence develops mostly in individuals who are already addicts of other kinds of drugs. These individuals usually seek out drugs to obtain the spectacular high when it is crushed. Addictions can be accompanied by physical dependence, withdrawal symptoms, and tolerance. The sudden absence of opioids in the body of an addict can lead to signs of withdrawal, including anxiety, insomnia, restlessness, vomiting, and severe stomach cramps.
Individuals who take large doses of OxyContin are at risk of developing respiratory depression, which can lead to death. It can also be proved fatal if abused with any other chemical substance, including alcohol. A major concern with prescription drug abuse is for new users of the drugs. If an individual’s body has not built up a tolerance to the oxycodone hydrochloride, and the drug is abused by crushing, snorting, or injecting, it can prove to be fatal.