Understanding Addictive Prescription Drugs


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Any discussion of a prescription drug crisis has to include OxyContin. From 2010 to 2017 in the United States, opioid addiction rates have exploded, up nearly 500% in that 7-year span. Right at the top of the prescription addiction list is OxyContin, a drug which has an addiction more powerful than that of morphine. The United States is far from the only country to suffer from addictions to prescribed medications, with most modern countries recognizing this is a serious public health issue.

Opioid-related deaths have risen by 300% since the turn of the century in the US, and OxyContin is one of the most addictive pain-relievers often prescribed by doctors. Because it is frequently in the news, OxyContin is routinely turned down when offered by a physician for treating pain. The potential relief it can deliver is outweighed by the possible addiction in the mind of the patient.

Ever since the late 1990s, OxyContin has been used to treat postoperative pain for a number of operations and procedures. When the pain is extremely high, this drug is sometimes prescribed because of the oxycodone it contains. One dose of OxyContin contains between 10 and 80 mg of oxycodone, which delivers a time-released relief from pain for up to 12 hours.

Whether obtained through a legal prescription or by other means, OxyContin can be crushed and then snorted or swallowed, or diluted in water and injected. This removes the time-release mechanism and gives a 'high' or feeling of euphoria comparable to that of heroin. This sometimes leads to criminal behavior in an effort to get more of this addictive drug than a prescription allows.


A mixture of hydrocodone and other chemicals work to suppress coughing. The narcotics in this cough treatment slow down and depress the reflex in your brain that makes you cough.

Hydrocodone is usually present in a combination with different chemicals, and is often used to treat moderate to severe levels of pain. Hydrocodone is one of the class of medications considered an opiate or narcotic, and it relieves pain by blocking the ability of your brain and nervous system to sense pain.

You may be prescribed a pain-reliever or cough suppressant in a capsule, liquid or pill, or possibly a tablet. As a pain-reliever, doctors will usually tell you to take as needed to treat pain, but never more than every 4 to 6 hours. Since it is an opiate or opioid, this product can be highly addictive. Your doctor will tell you that if you take hydrocodone in combination with some other medications, you dramatically raise your risk of experiencing serious breathing problem issues, and could possibly lapse into a coma.

The way hydrocodone works when it "talks" to your brain and nervous system can create a powerful addiction in some people. Because it is a narcotic, it can deliver short-term euphoria which an addicted individual wants to replicate frequently.

This can lead to physical dependence and addiction if hydrocordone and other opioid painkillers are taken long-term. Also, the withdrawal symptoms after an abrupt cessation of this drug are so powerfully negative, some users will do just about anything to get their hands on some more hydrocordone, or a similar opioid.


OxyContin and oxycodone can both be deadly when abused. These powerful opioid pain-relievers can do incredible good when taken properly and prescribed by a physician that understands the possible addiction both of these opiates can create. They are often prescribed for relief from extreme pain, and are usually administered in some type of time-release formula.

Oxycodone is usually combined with other medications, chemicals, powders or liquids. That doesn't mean it can't be incredibly addictive, dangerous and even deadly when abused. You may find Tylenol, Ibuprofen or some other low-level pain reliever combined with oxycodone. Brand-name pain relievers such as Percodan, OxyContin and Percocet include some level of oxycodone.

OxyContin, on the other hand, has only one ingredient ... oxycodone. Since the level of addictive, pain-relieving oxycodone is much higher in OxyContin than in some product which combines oxycodone with other chemicals, OxyContin should be considered highly addictive and taken responsibly.

OxyContin does contain time-release restrictions when obtained in a legal, prescribed form. However, crushing the tablet or mixing it in water removes the time-release restriction, and the rush of euphoria is immediate. Withdrawals after taking OxyContin irresponsibly are severe, and this is what makes OxyContin so much more addictive than medications which combine oxycodone with other chemicals and medicines.


Fentanyl is a synthetic pharmaceutical prescribed for pain-relief. It is usually only prescribed for intense and severe pain that is physically debilitating. Fentanyl is routinely prescribed for relief from pain associated with advanced cancer diagnoses.

You may realize that morphine is a pain-reliever which can cause severe addiction. With that in mind, understand that fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, so you can see how easy it would be to abuse this drug for feelings of euphoria, and pain-relief.

Fentanyl is usually prescribed as a lozenge that can be taken orally, or as a transdermal patch which is applied to the skin. Sometimes injections are prescribed. The drug can be so addictive it is produced in illegal drug laboratories, and often sold as a regulated dose of fentanyl. These illegal, street fentanyl products can create incredible addiction, and are sometimes responsible for death.

If you hear someone speaking of China Girl, Jackpot, TNT, Dance Fever or Tango and Cash in a setting where those terms don't seem to apply, what you may be hearing common street names for illicit fentanyl.

Like hydrocodone and OxyContin, fentanyl is considered an opioid and narcotic. The brand names for fentanyl-based pain relievers include Duragesic and Sublimaze, among others.


A rush of dopamine, a "feel good" chemical, is delivered when fentanyl is taken, and this is one of the reasons this prescription or street-level opioid is so addictive.

Preventing Prescription/OTC Drug Addiction

Simple Steps to Prevent Over-The-Counter and Prescription Drug Addiction

A medicine that changes the way your brain and nervous system communicate with each other can become addictive. Narcotics and opiates like oxycodone, OxyContin, fentanyl and hydrocodone disrupt how your brain and nervous system respond to pain. They deaden how your body recognizes pain, while simultaneously causing the release of hormones and chemicals which make you feel happy, euphoric and "high".

The first step to preventing addiction from these and any other over-the-counter or prescribed drugs is to understand that what looks like a harmless little pill can cause massive changes in how your internal systems work. Opiates, narcotics and other types of drugs and medications are so good at masking pain and making you feel great that even short-term use can become highly addictive.

Obviously, these types of medications should be kept under lock and key. If you are prescribed some type of opiate or other possibly addictive medication, this information should be kept by the fewest number of people possible. Addictive drugs like OxyContin are so good at delivering an extreme high and painful withdrawal that some criminals and addicts will stop at nothing to get your pills once they know you have them.

You should also talk to your doctor about pain-relief alternatives. Monitor your usage, and keep a journal where you honestly record every time you take one of these types of medications.

Check in with your doctor regularly, and ask for a reduction in dosage as your pain starts to wane. Finally, never let someone other than the prescription holder take an opiate, narcotic or opioid. Your intentions may be good, but a single dosage could create an unhealthy addiction.

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