Like many other opioid analgesics, roxicodone is highly addictive. A relatively new prescription drug, roxicodone made its debut into the market in 1995. It added to the list of narcotic pain medications with similar composition and effects to morphine and heroine. The drug's action dulls the brain's pain perception centers and depresses the central nervous system, providing pain relief and sedation. Roxicodone is used to manage moderate to severe pain and often prescribed to patients with serious injuries and terminal illnesses like cancer.
Roxicodone's main active ingredient is oxycodone hydrochloride, a crystalline, odorless powder that is white in color and derived from thebaine, an opium alkaloid. When the drug was released, it was popular because of its relatively long release time. When administered, the drug's active ingredient, oxycodone is released steadily over a 12 hour period, giving patients lasting relief, almost four times more than the traditional pain relievers.
Because it is highly habit forming, frequent use of roxicodone can easily lead to tolerance, dependence, and addiction. Unfortunately, many patients who start using the drug for treating pain become hooked and start using it for recreation. Roxicodone is one of the most abused prescription drugs. In recent years, the medical community has noted an increase in emergency hospital admissions and fatalities from improper use of roxicodone. The Drug Abuse Warning Network, DAWN, reports that emergency hospital visits from non-medical use of drugs accounted for about 741,425 cases in 2006. Of these, roxicodone made about 64,888 cases.
Abuse of roxicodone involves issues such as illegal procurement; buying the drug from the streets, borrowing other people's prescriptions, using more than the recommended dose and using the drug for recreational purposes other than medical use.
Roxicodone addiction statistics from different agencies indicate that people are increasingly using roxicodone for recreation and getting addicted, with potentially dangerous results. Without knowledge of the correct use of roxicodone, people get supplies of the drug illegally and chew, snort or inject themselves with roxicodone, sometimes taking dangerously high doses to feel the maximum effect of the drug.
It is estimated that by 2006, about 8 percent of the population aged 12 and above in the US had abused roxicodone at least once a month. Overall, about a million people had abused the drug at least once in their life. The DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) cites roxicodone is one of the most abused prescription drugs. It stresses the dangers of this practice and says that about 1.9 million people in the US have used the drug illegally.
A 2010 report from the National Institute on Drug Abuse showed that 2-5 percent of kids between eighth and twelveth grades had tried roxicodone for recreation at least once.
Other roxicodone addiction statistics show that the cost to America associated with addiction to the drug amounts to about $484 billion annually. These result form traffic accidents, lost wages from job loss and cost to the criminal justice system and healthcare for addicts.
Any prolonged opioid therapy used to manage pain can easily result in tolerance and dependence. When patients becomes tolerant to roxicodone, their bodies adjust to the dosage used and subsequently, need higher doses to maintain the relief from pain. Most of the time, patients treated with low doses hardly develop tolerance. However, those who become dependent on the drug can develop addiction easily.
People who are addicted to roxicodone may engage in practices such as doctor shopping to get more supplies of the drug. This involves getting doctors to write illegal prescriptions or getting many prescriptions from different doctors. The need for higher doses of the drug may indicate addiction. The length of time a person has abused the drug may also be used in diagnosing addiction. Those with a history of using heroin or morphine may replace the drugs with roxicodone or other prescription narcotic analgesics.
Addicts may also exhibit unusual behavior patterns when they run out of supplies, including psychological problems and physical symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms include mood swings, personality changes and depression.
Physical symptoms include irregular heartbeat, muscle tremors or twitches, vomiting and nausea and feelings that alternate between restlessness and fatigue. People who are allergic to substances in roxicodone may experience dangerous allergic reactions from abusing the drug.
Treatment programs however are available to help addicts break free from their addiction to roxicodone. With support, addicts can recover and remain free on completing the treatment program.