Oxycodone is a prescription drug used to help chronic pain patients better handle their pain. While it is a legal prescription drug, it is widely abused. Oxycodone has enormous addictive potential. Patients prescribed the drug can become easily addicted to it. Growing awareness of the addictive potential of oxycodone has helped slow down the increase in the number of Americans becoming addicted to oxycodone each year, but oxycodone abuse remains a major problem.
Oxycodone addiction statistics are sobering. It's estimated that oxycodone abuse costs the American people a staggering 400 billion dollars each year. Unfortunately, a lot of the people that abuse oxycodone are minors. A shocking five percent of 4.6% of 10th graders abused the drug in 2010.
Oxycodone is a particularly popular drug with minors because it is easy to access and relatively low cost. In contrast to illegal recreational drugs like cocaine and heroin, oxycodone can often be obtained without a lot of risk. This makes it the party drug of choice for many minors.
Part of the reason oxycodone has such addictive potential is that it is designed to provide constant pain relief throughout the day. The fact that its effect is so long lasting makes it difficult for patients to stop using it when they no longer need to use it.
Often, the onset of oxycodone addiction is subtle. Patients at first may just start to notice a craving for the drug. This craving often begins to feel like it is all-consuming. The next step of the addiction process is an escalation of the dose. Patients start taking more and more of the drug.
At first, increasing the dose causes the cravings to abate. But then the user begins to feel that they need to increase the dose again. This quickly leads to a vicious cycle of drug addiction. Often, patients become quite good at hiding their oxycodone drug addiction. This may explain why some oxycodone addiction statistics underestimate the severity of oxycodone drug abuse.
Part of the reason oxycodone drug abuse is still so prevalent is that doctors often unwittingly enable oxycodone addiction in their patients. Chronic pain is very difficult to treat effectively, and many medical professionals are willing to try almost anything to help their patients feel better about themselves.
Oxycodone is very effective at combating chronic pain, and that is why many doctors prescribe it even when they know about its addictive potential. While oxycodone is very helpful for some patients, the fact that so many people become addicted to it very easily makes it too dangerous to broadly prescribe.
Oxycodone drug abuse is likely to remain a problem in America in the future. Many addicted patients are quite adept at increasing their supply of the drug. This makes efforts to cut down on oxycodone abuse difficult. In addition, many illicit drug dealers have become expert at acquiring supplies of the drug.
The problem of oxycodone drug abuse is further complicated by the fact that some patients really do need to use oxycodone. There are some terminal cancer patients that benefit greatly from their use of oxycodone. This makes prescribing oxycodone difficult. Doctors are worried about letting patients suffer, but also concerned about the possibility of addiction. There are no easy solutions to these problems. Medical professionals and lawmakers need to work together in order to come up with better ways to prescribe oxycodone.
Some people go so far as to say that oxycodone should be banned. Supporters of this idea point to the drug's addictive potential and oxycodone addiction statistics and insist that the pharmaceutical industry needs to work on developing safer alternatives to oxycodone. These people do have a point, and, fortunately for the medical profession, the pharmaceutical industry is working on developing alternatives to oxycodone that lack its addictive potential but retain its effectiveness.
Drug addiction is a problem that all modern societies deal with. Oxycodone drug addiction will only be dealt with effectively when doctors, lawmakers, and the electorate join forces and start working out smart strategies to deal with the problem. This will take time to happen, but the good news is that it is definitely possible and not unrealistic.