Painkiller Addiction Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Oxycodone: A brief history of a potentially addictive drug

Most of us think of opium and opiates in fairly dramatic terms. We think of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, lulled into a stupor after falling asleep in a field of poppies or, worse, the image of a junkie hopelessly captivated by heroin. However, the face of drug addiction is changing. Many people are addicted to supposedly healthy, doctor-prescribed painkillers by their physicians. Drugs like oxycodone have the same chemical composition as opiates like heroin, even though they were scientifically created in laboratories. This paper will provide a brief history of the drug oxycodone and its use and abuses. Although oxycodone has many legitimate applications in pain management, it is not a harmless drug and has the potential to become extremely addictive. This addictive property was not initially noted but after cases of abuse began to surface, concerns began to arise. "Until 1995, when the Food and Drug Administration approved OxyContin there was little concern over the abuse of oxycodone producers. But, in 1996 when the manufacturer of OxyContin began to market and distribute the drug, concerns and reports of illicit use and abuse began to increase" ("Oxycodone," 2014).

History of drug

"Oxycodone is a semi-synthetic opiate manufactured by modifying the chemical thebaine, an organic chemical found in opium. It is the active ingredient in a number of commonly prescribed pain relief medications such as Percocet, Percodan, and Tylox" ("Oxycodone," 2014). All of these common drugs contain low-dose forms of oxycodone. By far the most potent variety of Oxycodone is that of OxyContin, with tablets that range in strength from 10mg to 80mg tablets. "Intended use of OxyContin is for long-term relief (up to 12 hours) of moderate to severe pain associated with conditions such as cancer and arthritis" ("Oxycodone," 2014). The tablets are time-released to ensure slower and steadier pain management. However, despite the apparently benign time release format, OxyContin has still proven to be extremely addictive and the subject of much criticism. It is often abused by adolescents and abuse of the drug is on the rise. The drug has a high street value of $25-$40 for a $4 pill. "OxyContin, which may be the most recognized form of oxycodone, is a drug with a high abuse potential, and in the past few years it has been linked to a number of overdose deaths. In 1996 for example, data from the federal government linked oxycodone to 49 deaths" ("Oxycodone," 2014).

Effects of the drug on the body

When used properly, the drug is intended to blunt the sufferer's reaction to pain, depressing the central nervous system and the reactions it sends regarding pain messages. It is often prescribed for individuals experiencing chronic pain in diseases like cancer and arthritis. Abusers may use it as…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

"Oxycodone." CESAR (Center for Substance Abuse Research). Web. 29 Dec 2014.

Pope. Tara. "The problem with pain pills." The New York Times. 26 Jun 2013. Web.

29 Dec 2014.

Cite This Essay:

"Painkiller Addiction" (2014, December 29) Retrieved May 26, 2020, from

"Painkiller Addiction" 29 December 2014. Web.26 May. 2020. <>

"Painkiller Addiction", 29 December 2014, Accessed.26 May. 2020,