What Is OxyContin?

Oxycontin is a very powerful semi-synthetic opioid pain killer that belongs to a class of prescription medications known as opioid narcotic analgesics. It is usually only prescribed for severe pain and is most commonly used to control the pain in those suffering from cancer or post-operative pain.

OxyContin is a member of the ‘opiate’ family of drugs and it is often referred to as ‘legal heroin’. OxyContin is extremely addictive and detoxification gives rise to painful and often dangerous withdrawal symptoms, especially during the initial 72 hours after OxyContin was last consumed by the addict.

Users often get hooked on this drug after using it as a pain reliever. Whilst the drug is capable of being used sensibly to manage pain, a small majority of clients go on to develop a dependency for the drug.

If you or a loved one live in the United Kingdom and hold an addiction to OxyContin, you will likely be eager to read this post. I outline the stages clients go through when withdrawing from OxyContin usage.


Preliminary Matters

Before OxyContin detox is attempted the medical team needs to determine the user’s level of dependency on the drug. The severity and duration of addiction determines the severity of withdrawal symptoms appearing during detoxification.

The longer the period of addiction to OxyContin usually means the longer the required period of detoxification. Users who have consumed OxyContin for many years typically require a tapered detox.

This allows their nervous system time to adjust to a sober state of functionality. Since OxyContin is an opioid, long-term users require time for natural endorphin levels to stabilise in the brain during detoxification.


OxyContin Treatment

The options available to those in rehab is to either cut OxyContin use entirely (i.e. go ‘cold turkey’) or to reduce dosages slowly (i.e. tapering). The decision is different from client to client. Rehab clinics should have reference to clients’ wishes.

Long-term users of OxyContin are most likely to benefit from a tapered detox. A suitable daily percentage reduction is agreed, with reference to the length of the clients rehab programme. Rehabs aim to eliminate

OxyContin use during rehab but leaving enough time to tackle psychological triggers of addiction during therapy. For this reason clients opting for tapered detox are usually advised to opt for a full four-week rehab programme.

A cold turkey detox is most suitable for short-term addicts.

Many rehab clinics may offer ‘opioid replacement therapy’. Here clients substitute the use of OxyContin for another opioid-based drug. This substitute-drug usually means Suboxone or even Methadone.

The rationale behind this form of therapy is to first wean clients off OxyContin and then tackle withdrawal symptoms associated with less powerful opioids carrying less problematic withdrawal symptoms.


Effects of OxyContin

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that in some areas of the country, OxyContin abuse rates are higher than heroin abuse. An overdose on OxyContin can cause severe damage and even be the cause of most drug related deaths.

Symptoms of OxyContin include:

  • Coma
  • Confusion
  • Slow breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting


Typical OxyContin Withdrawal Symptoms

A list of common withdrawal symptoms experienced during OxyContin withdrawal include:

  • Stomach pain
  • Agitation
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Intense cravings for the drug
  • Diarrhea

As stated above, the length of the above symptoms is determined by how long and how much the addict has continued to use OxyContin.

Oxycontin Addiction: Facts and Statistics

The number of people who misuse and die from Oxycontin is surprising. Statistics about Oxycontin abuse show that:

  • Men are more likely to die of prescription opioid overdose than women, and an estimated 9,978 men died of prescription opioid overdose in 2016
  • 12.9% of teens in their senior year of high school say they have used prescription opioids for nonmedical reasons at some point in their lifetime
  • About one in three Medicare beneficiaries (12 million people) receive a prescription for opioids each
  • From 2006 to 2012, elderly adults accounted for 71,000 emergency department visits and hospitalizations for prescription opioid overdose

Its known that elderly people have more of an effect with these side effects than younger people do. This includes having trouble with urinary retention (unable to empt


Contact Us

At Ocean Recovery we offer a four-week painkiller rehab programme. Click here to contact our admissions team if you wish to find out more about this programme.









“Often it’s the deepest pain which empowers you to grow into your highest self” – Karen Salmansohn

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John Gillen - Author - Last updated: May 13, 2024

John is one UK’s leading professionals in the addiction recovery industry. Pioneering new treatment techniques such as NAD+ and ongoing research into new therapy techniques such as systematic laser therapy, John is committed to providing the very best treatment for people throughout the UK and Europe. During his extremely busy schedule, John likes to regularly update our blog section with the latest news and trends in the industry to keep visitors to our site as well informed as possible on everything related to addiction treatment.