What Is Naloxone Used For?

What Is Naloxone Used For? | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Narcan (naloxone) is a nasal spray that serves an opioid antagonist and an anti-overdose solution. In the event of an overdose on opioids such as heroin or fentanyl, prompt administration of naloxone cancels the effects of the overdose by replacing opioids active on the receptors in the brain and prevents more opioids from binding.

Naloxone isn’t new, by any means, and has been used in emergency departments and by first responders for years. The recent increase in opioid overdoses and deaths have led to increased availability. It is available without a prescription and is routinely carried by law enforcement, EMTs, and even civilians.

What Is Narcan (Naloxone) Used For?

Medical providers can administer Naloxone intravenously in the arm or thigh but it is more commonly given in the form of a nasal spray that anyone can administer. In the event of a suspected or confirmed overdose, it can save a person’s life.

Important: Naloxone is not a substitute for medical help. It is vital to call 911 immediately.

What Should I Do if I Suspect an Overdose? 

Firstly, if you suspect someone is experiencing an opioid overdose, check to see if they are responsive by gently shaking the person or shouting at them. Then check their breathing status. 

If the person isn’t responding or appears to have difficulty breathing, administer one dose in a nostril and call 911 immediately. The 911 dispatcher may give you instructions to perform CPR or remain close by the person until help arrives.

Naloxone Dosage

When a person is unconscious, the person who is having the overdose cannot administer the naloxone. As such, a family member, friend, or a bystander must deliver the remedy. For this reason, the loved ones of people who abuse opioids must have Narcan readily available in case of an emergency. In the U.S., it is now available at most major pharmacy chains without a prescription for under $20.

The Narcan medication guide includes the following information about dosing:

Administer one spray in one nostril. Each Narcan dose contains 2-4 mg of naloxone hydrochloride, which is usually, but not always, sufficient to revive someone one time. One spray in one nostril is the recommended initial dosage. Each Narcan nasal spray contains only one dose. It cannot be reused and must be discarded.

Administer naloxone as soon as possible and call 911 immediately. The longer a person experiences CNS depression, the more likely they are to incur severe damage to their nervous system. 

Re-administration may be necessary. If there is no response or change after the initial, a new nasal spray dose should be given every 2-3 minutes. Note that this can happen if the person has taken a particular potent opioid such as fentanyl or carfentanil.

If the person responds momentarily but then falls unconscious again, naloxone should be readministered. If multiple doses are delivered, Narcan should be administered in an alternating nostril each time it’s used. 

What to Know About Using Naloxone

What Is Naloxone Used For? | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Signs someone is experiencing an opioid overdose and needs to be revived with naloxone include:

  • Unconsciousness
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Slow, shallow, or labored breathing
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Bluish skins and finger nails
  • Pinpoint pupils

Naloxone administration causes instantaneous and severe opioid withdrawal symptoms. For this reason, among others, it is crucial to seek medical assistance immediately. Some people may not be able to be given Narcan if they have allergies to ingredients that include benzalkonium chloride, sodium chloride, or hydrochloric acid.

Critically, naloxone can only block the effects of an overdose that involves opioid or opiate drugs, such as morphine, heroin, fentanyl, or oxycodone. The drug will not revive a person who has overdosed on meth, cocaine, Xanax, or other non-opioid substances. 

Because naloxone instantly reverses the effects of opioids, including euphoria, the drug cannot be used to get high. For this reason, Narcan addiction is pretty much impossible.

Treatment for Opioid Addiction

Persons who’ve had a life-saving overdose of Narcan should consider undergoing comprehensive, long-term addiction treatment. Following detox, a treatment plan should consist of evidence-based approaches, such as behavioral therapy, individual and group counseling, group support, and aftercare planning.

At Recovery in Tune, we employ caring, professional staff who specialize in addiction. We provide our clients with the knowledge and skills they need to achieve sobriety and regain the life they deserve. 

If you or someone you love is battling an opioid addiction, please contact us as soon as possible—we can help!

⟹ READ THIS NEXT: Opiate Withdrawal Timeline

Opiate Withdrawal Timeline

Opiate Withdrawal Timeline | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Opiate and opioid drugs, including prescription narcotics and illegal substances like heroin, can produce withdrawal symptoms with a few hours after the last dose, and symptoms can last for up to a week or longer. Withdrawal is not typically life-threatening, but without medical intervention, it is likely to result in a relapse. 

Opioid withdrawal symptoms include the following:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle cramps
  • Runny nose
  • Body aches and pains
  • Depression
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Drug cravings

Opiate and Opioid Facts

Technically, the term “opiate” refers to a naturally-occurring compound found in the opium poppy, such as morphine. Opioid refers to a human-made substance that is either partially derived from a natural substance (semi-synthetic) or is completely designed in a laboratory to act on the same receptors in the brain as opiates and induce similar effects. For purposes of this article, the terms opiate and opioid may be used interchangeably.

Each opioid drug has a different half-life, which is the length of time needed for half of a drug to be cleared from the body. As a result, symptoms of withdrawal may onset at various times, depending on the type of drug used, the amount used, and the method by which it was administered.

Heroin is the fastest acting opioid, and as such, it also has the shortest half-life, which is usually no longer than 30 minutes. Short-acting prescription opioids, such as immediate-release oxycodone, have half-lives of around 4-6 hours. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports that the half-life of methadone is much longer, closer to approximately 30 hours.

Smoking, snorting, and injecting drugs tend to produce a more immediate effect, but these effects may also wane sooner than drugs that are consumed orally and digested. The timeline of withdrawal is largely dependent on the type of opioid used and the method of administration.

How Opioids Work and Cause Dependence

Opiate Withdrawal Timeline | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Opioids are in a category of drugs, also referred to as narcotics or painkillers. These drugs change the way in which the brain responds to stimuli and can also produce an intense euphoria by interfering with the regions in the brain responsible for reward and pleasure.

The central nervous system (CNS) includes the brain and cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Receptors throughout this system allow the binding of opioid drugs, which can cause a variety of physical and mental effects. Heart rate, respiration, body temperature, and blood pressure may all be reduced while intense feelings of pleasure manifest.

Repeated use of an opioid can alter the way in which a person’s brain chemistry functions and lead to both chemical and psychological dependence. Moreover, the body adapts to the drug’s presence and cannot operate normally without it. Withdrawal symptoms will then onset when a person stops using the opioid, which is a condition known as dependence.

Symptoms of Opioid Withdrawal

The symptoms of opioid withdrawal can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the level and duration of abuse or addiction. People withdrawing from an opioid drug can usually expect symptoms to onset in accordance with the following timeline, although, of course, they can vary somewhat between individuals.

Early Withdrawal

Early withdrawal symptoms usually onset within 6-12 hours for short-acting opioids, and within 30 hours for longer-acting opioids, and may include the following:

  • Teariness
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Agitation
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Excessive yawning
  • Runny nose
  • Sweats
  • Elevated heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Fever

Late Withdrawal Symptoms

Late withdrawal symptoms tend to peak within 72 hours and may persist for around a week and may include the following:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Drug cravings

Some of the psychoemotional symptoms of withdrawal and drug cravings may persist much longer than a week in some instances.

Detox Options

There are a variety of detox options for treating withdrawal symptoms, which can be highly unpleasant, and medical detox is usually the safest and most comfortable method of detox. Vital signs, including blood pressure, respiration, and heart rate, can be closely monitored during medical detox, and medications can be used to manage brain and body functioning. While there is no precise timeline for detox, the process usually lasts 5-7 days.

Opioids should not be discontinued suddenly without physical and mental health support and supervision, as side effects of withdrawal can be severe and even lead to dangerous complications. Medications such as antidepressants and other pharmaceuticals may be helpful during medical detox to address certain withdrawal symptoms.

Drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms can be managed by replacing short-acting opioids like heroin with a longer-acting one, such as methadone or Suboxone. This approach can stop the onset of particularly severe withdrawal symptoms.

Opiate Withdrawal Timeline | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Opioid Detox Medications

Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist that is commonly administered during an opioid detox and treatment, as it stays active in the body for longer than many opioids and requires a lower dosage. Partial agonists also do not usually produce the same “high” that full agonists do, therefore making them less likely to be abused. Also, the agonist effects of buprenorphine reach a plateau in which they no longer continue to increase with higher dosages. This action is called a “ceiling effect,” and contributes to buprenorphine’s abuse-deterrent properties.

Both naloxone and naltrexone are opioid antagonists that bind to opioid receptor sites throughout the CNS but do not activate them. Instead, they block other opioids from attaching to them. This action discourages people from using a drug such as heroin while on an antagonist, as the drug will not induce the desired effects and may, in fact, lead to precipitated withdrawal syndrome.

Naloxone is a medication that actually blocks the effects of opioids and reverses overdoses. It is often found in combination with buprenorphine to serve as a relapse-prevention agent in medications like Suboxone. Naltrexone products, such as Vivitrol and Revia, are commonly used to help prevent relapse following detox. The goal of detox is to stabilize a person who is dependent on opioids both physically and emotionally, and the process may include both psychological and pharmaceutical approaches to accomplish this.

Addiction Treatment

Because drug addiction is a chronic, persisting disease with both physical and emotional side effects, treatment should be comprehensive and steeped in evidence-based therapies and services. Medical detox can alleviate side effects and cravings, prevent severe complications, and can offer people a great start toward long-term recovery.

Unfortunately, however, relapse is not uncommon for those struggling with addiction. For this reason, detox alone is usually not enough to ensure that a person will maintain longlasting sobriety and prevent major mental setbacks in the process. Detox should be immediately followed by participation in an integrated treatment plan. 

Recovery in Tune offers these programs in both partial-hospitalization and outpatient formats, which feature services beneficial to the recovery process. Our services include behavioral therapy, individual and family counseling, group support meetings, aftercare planning services, and more.

We employ highly-trained addiction specialists who deliver services to patients with great care and expertise. We provide clients with the tools, skills, and support they need to achieve a full recovery, prevent relapse, and maintain long-term wellness and sobriety.

If you or someone you love is battling an addiction to opioids, other drugs, or alcohol, please contact us today! Discover how we help people reclaim their lives, free from the chains of addiction!

The Dangers of Fentanyl Addiction

Fentanyl Addiction Dangers | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Fentanyl addiction can occur when a person repeatedly abuses fentanyl, and this can happen after being prescribed by a physician or after having obtained it illicitly on the street. Fentanyl abuse and addiction can lead to severe emotional, physical, and social consequences, and can rapidly result in an overdose.

What Is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that works exceptionally well as a painkiller or anesthetic. For medical purposes, it is often administered to patients for severe pain related to an injury or following surgery. Fentanyl works rapidly to eliminate pain, but the effects are not particularly longlasting. For this reason, it also has a very high potential for abuse and addiction. Fentanyl’s effects are similar to those of heroin and other opioids but may be more intense due to the fact that its many times more potent.

Fentanyl users typically experience a state of profound well-being and extreme relaxation or drowsiness and may abuse it in an attempt to experience these feelings repeatedly. There are several methods to administer fentanyl. These include the following by prescription or as a product of drug diversion:

  • Patches
  • Lollipops and dissolvable tongue film
  • Pills that dissolve in the cheek

Illicitly, fentanyl is usually found as a powder, similar to heroin, and can, therefore, be smoked, snorted, or injected. Fentanyl is sometimes mixed with heroin, meth, or cocaine to amplify its effects. Combining these drugs is extremely dangerous, however, and produces a drug cocktail that is far more unpredictable than either drug is alone.

Because fentanyl is often found in a clinical setting as a tool for general anesthesia, people with easy access to the drug, such as physicians or nurses, may abuse it or sell it to others on the black market. Others may begin using fentanyl as prescribed but soon discover that they have become dependent on it.

Many prescription forms of fentanyl, such as lollipops and transdermal patches, have been designed to release the drug gradually over time for safety purposes. However, like many drugs, users have found creative ways to manipulate and abuse fentanyl to produce its effects more rapidly. Unfortunately, doing so is incredibly dangerous because it circumvents the slow-release mechanism and can lead to a lethal overdose.

Short-Term Symptoms of Fentanyl Abuse or Addiction

There are many common warning signs and symptoms that a person is abusing fentanyl. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Confusion and slurred speech
  • Depression
  • Weakness and difficulty walking
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Slowed/altered heart rate
  • Labored breathing
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting
  • Shakiness
  • Sleepiness
  • Hallucinations
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Itching and scratching

Fentanyl Addiction Dangers | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Due to its potency, the abuse of fentanyl can also easily result in unconsciousness, coma, and death.

Effects of Fentanyl Abuse and Addiction

When a person has a chronic fentanyl abuse problem, he or she will likely experience a myriad of adverse effects. There are severe mental, emotional, and physical side effects related to long-term fentanyl use, in addition to the aforementioned acute symptoms. These include the following:

Physical Effects

  • Severe gastrointestinal problems
  • Weakened immune system
  • Difficult or labored breathing
  • Seizures

Mental Effects

  • Paranoia
  • Social withdrawal
  • Lack of motivation
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Personality changes

Overdose

A fentanyl overdose can rapidly lead to death, and many of the side effects mentioned above can be signs of an overdose. If you or someone you know is suffering from the following signs or symptoms, please call 911 immediately:

  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Weak muscles
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Extreme sleepiness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Perilously slow heartbeat
  • Very low blood pressure
  • Slow or stopped breathing
  • Bluish nails and lips (cyanosis)

A fentanyl overdose is a medical emergency, and first responders will most likely administer Narcan (naloxone). This drug is an opioid antidote that rapidly and effectively reverses the life-threatening effects of an overdose, including central nervous system depression.

If you or someone you know is abusing heroin or fentanyl, you should obtain Narcan and have it readily available in case of an overdose. It is now available at most major drugstore chains for around $20 without a prescription.

The effects that an overdose of fentanyl has on a user’s heart rate and respiration present the highest risk of death or severe, long-lasting health complications. Even if a person survives a fentanyl overdose, these effects may leave a profound and enduring impact on his or her body. Severe respiratory depression, for instance, can lead to hypoxia, a condition that results in irreversible brain damage.

Lethal Combinations

When combined with other street drugs that suppress the central nervous system, the risk of encountering the following symptoms increases exponentially:

  • Respiratory distress
  • Unconsciousness
  • Coma
  • Death

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the rate of overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids (except methadone), which include drugs such as fentanyl, rose steadily between 1999-2017 from 0.3 to 9.0 per 100,000. The rate increased by 8% per year on average between 1999-2013 and by a staggering 71% per year from 2013 through 2017.

Many fatal overdoses attributed to fentanyl have occurred because the person who used it or was exposed to it was not aware that the drug they were coming into contact with contained fentanyl. It is often used as an adulterant of heroin or and other drugs, or substituted for them outright. It’s inexpensive to produce and can be highly profitable for dealers because a tiny amount can have very powerful effects.

Fentanyl Addiction Dangers | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Treatment for Fentanyl Addiction

Fentanyl abuse and addiction can occur in a number of ways. Individuals who are prescribed fentanyl can become dependent on it and begin abusing it. Others obtain fentanyl on the street or Internet, looking for an even more powerful high than that which can be achieved through heroin use.

Regardless of whether dependence developed related to a prescription or in an Illegally obtained form, fentanyl addiction is extremely dangerous and frequently deadly. Treatment should begin with a medical detox overseen by health professionals who specialize in addiction.

Detox

Due to fentanyl’s high potential for addiction, a person who becomes dependent will encounter multiple withdrawal symptoms after discontinuing its use, which can include the following:

  • Chills
  • Confusion
  • Diarrhea
  • Overall weakness
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Lack of appetite
  • Shakiness and tremors
  • Stomach pain

Due to the severity of possible withdrawal symptoms, it’s imperative that those who are attempting to recover work with a qualified medical professional to minimize withdrawal effects and detox safely. Detoxing under the supervision of a medical professional can significantly reduce the risk that the person will relapse and undermine his or her recovery in an attempt to relieve withdrawal symptoms.

Treatment Options

There is a wide variety of treatment options for individuals seeking recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. These include the following:

  • Inpatient/residential treatment programs that typically last anywhere from 30-90 days, sometimes longer
  • Outpatient and intensive outpatient treatment programs
  • 12-step recovery and support programs, such as Narcotics Anonymous
  • Other recovery programs, such as SMART Recovery (Self-Management and Recovery Training)

Following detox, patients are urged to participate in long-term substance abuse treatment, which includes comprehensive, evidence-based approaches, such as behavioral therapy, counseling, and group support.

Our center employs medical and mental health professionals who specialize in addiction and provide clients with the supports and tools they need to achieve a full recovery and sustain long-lasting sobriety.

Support groups are offered at our center in addition to research-based therapies, and these groups can provide a lifetime of support for addicts who are motivated to maintain sobriety.

You can reclaim your life, free from drugs and alcohol! Contact us today to discover how we can help!

What Does Fentanyl Look Like?

What Does Fentanyl Look Like? | Recovery in Tune

Fentanyl is an opioid and prescription painkiller that is available as a pill, powder, tablet, spray, or sublingual (under the tongue) film. Time-release formulas of fentanyl are found as gel patches or lollipops, and hospitals sometimes use injectable forms. Illicit street versions of fentanyl are usually in powder form.

Understanding Fentanyl

Fentanyl is a synthetic drug up to 50 times more powerful than heroin. Clinically, it is used to relieve severe pain, such as during or following surgery or that which is related to cancer treatment, palliative care, and breakthrough pain.

Common brand names and forms for fentanyl include, but are not limited to, the following:

ActiqActiq is a lozenge on a plastic stick placed under the tongue similar to a lollipop. It is used by patients already taking pain-relieving medications.

Duragesic—Duragesic is a transdermal patch prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain. Its effects can last for up to three days.

SublimazeSublimaze is usually administered in hospitals, and sometimes alongside anesthetics, it is an injectable form of fentanyl. It is used to relieve pain before, during, and after surgeries.

SubsysSubsys is a sublingual spray administered under the tongue in order to deliver instant pain relief. Its main purpose is to treat breakthrough pain related to cancer.

Fentanyl Abuse and Effects

Like other opioids, fentanyl works by attaching to receptors in the brain and increasing the production of the feel-good chemical dopamine. For this reason, people who regularly use fentanyl are at high risk for addiction, regardless of whether it is taken according to a prescription or illicitly.

Those who use fentanyl in excess of prescription doses or an illicit form will experience intense euphoria and feelings of relaxation similar to those induced by heroin.

Common symptoms of fentanyl abuse include the following:

  • Slowed breathing
  • Clammy skin
  • Seizures
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Itching
  • Euphoria
  • Drowsiness

Fentanyl abuse is particularly hazardous to those without a high tolerance to opioids. The drug risk of overdose is further increased when a person without tolerance abuses it.

Combining fentanyl with illicit drugs, such as heroin, meth, or cocaine, can compound the substance’s harmful effects. Regardless of whether it is used as prescribed or abused for recreational purposes, fentanyl is a potentially deadly drug.

Overdose

The abuse of fentanyl can profoundly depress a person’s respiratory system, resulting in a lethal overdose. A fentanyl overdose is a life-threatening emergency that requires immediate medical intervention.

An individual that has been exposed to fentanyl may experience the following symptoms:

  • Respiratory failure
  • Nervous system depression
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Limpness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Coma

If you or someone you know are experiencing the above symptoms related to fentanyl use, call 911 immediately. First responders can administer naloxone, a medication that reverses the effects of opioids and can, therefore, save a life.

What Does Fentanyl Look Like? | Recovery in Tune

What Does Fentanyl Addiction Look Like?

Signs of addiction include the following:

  • Tolerance, hallmarked by the need to use increasing amounts to achieve the desired effect
  • Dependence and withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuation of use
  • Using to avoid withdrawal symptoms
  • Obsession with obtaining and using fentanyl
  • Being unable to quit despite the desire to do so
  • Neglect of social activities in place of using fentanyl
  • Using fentanyl despite incurring adverse effects
  • Significant physical and psychological health problems
  • Strained interpersonal relationships
  • Poor performance academically or professionally
  • Financial issues
  • Arrest and incarceration
  • Social withdrawal
  • Homelessness
  • An overwhelming sense of hopelessness and suicidal thoughts

Many people who become dependent on opioids, such as fentanyl, have a genetic predisposition to addiction. Others are at risk due to severe health conditions. Some start using fentanyl to treat pain and end up abusing it and becoming addicted. Also, health problems are not limited to those which are physical. If a person has a mental health disorder, he or she is more likely to engage in substance abuse as a means of self-medicating.

Dependence is partially a psychological condition but is fundamentally a physical one. Long-term fentanyl use or abuse can cause brain dysfunction. When opioids are abused for a prolonged period, dopamine receptors in the brain stop operating effectively without the presence of opioids.

Getting Help for Opioid Addiction

Opioid addiction, regardless of the drug abused, is an extremely dangerous condition that requires professional treatment. Individuals who are dependent on opioids need to undergo a medical detox followed immediately by a comprehensive, evidence-based treatment program.

Recovery in Tune offers treatment for addiction in both outpatient and intensive outpatient formats. We employ caring, highly-skilled staff who are committed to ensuring that each client receives all of the tools and support they desperately need to experience a full recovery. 

If you or someone you love is ready to stop the cycle of addiction, contact us today and find out how we can help!

⟹ READ THIS NEXT: What Does Heroin Look Like?

How Long Does Methadone Stay in Your System?

How Long Does Methadone Stay in Your System? | Recovery in Tune

How Long Does Methadone Stay in Your System? – Methadone has a half-life of between 8-59 hours, which is the time it takes for half the dose to be cleared from the system. It takes about five half-lives for a drug to leave the body entirely. Therefore, methadone can potentially stay in a person’s system for as long as 12 days.

The amount of time that methadone is detectable in a person’s system depends on the type of test being administered.

Urine tests can identify the presence of methadone after 24 hours and for up to one week. Blood tests can detect methadone as soon as three hours after it’s been ingested orally and for up to 60 hours. Hair tests can identify methadone within 7-10 days after use and for up to 90 days. Methadone can show up on saliva tests within 10 minutes after consumption and for as long as ten days.

Several factors affect how long methadone stays in a person’s system, including the following:

  • Age
  • Weight
  • Metabolism and liver health
  • Duration and frequency of use
  • Dosage amount
  • Use of other substances

What Is Methadone?

Methadone (Dolophine) is a synthetic opioid used to treat pain and help people get off more potent opioids by easing them through the process of detox. It works to relieve withdrawal symptoms for those who have become dependent on illicit drugs such as heroin or fentanyl. When used for pain management, methadone is usually only prescribed to people who are experiencing chronic pain that has not responded to other treatment methods.

Methadone is commonly prescribed as a tablet or liquid solution that is taken orally. In some cases, doctors administer doses of the drug via intravenous injection.

Methadone has become widely prescribed because it is often more cost-effective than other prescription painkillers. The effects of methadone are typically experienced within 30 minutes of use and endure for 8–12 hours. The prescribing doctor will closely monitor dosages and effects and can modify the prescription as needed.

Methadone as a Treatment for Opioid Addiction

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) states that methadone works by altering the brain and central nervous system (CNS) responses to pain. When used, methadone acts as a full opioid agonist and binds to opiate receptors in the brain.

Methadone blocks the unpleasant symptoms of opioid withdrawal and euphoric effects of feeling high. In combination with comprehensive therapy and peer group participation, medication-assisted treatment with methadone can help people recover from opioid addiction.

According to SAMHSA, all people who are receiving methadone for opioid addiction must be participating in a drug treatment program. In this way, healthcare providers and addiction specialists can administer and monitor methadone for each patient. In fact, legally, methadone can only be acquired through a certified opioid treatment program.

Common side effects of methadone use include:

  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness
  • Sweating
  • Leg swelling
  • Rash or hives
  • Chest pain
  • Confusion
  • Arm swelling
  • Hallucinations
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Constipation
  • Nausea and vomiting

Methadone has been successfully used as a treatment for people with opioid-related substance use disorders. When used as directed, it can be a life-altering drug. However, it also has the potential for abuse as it can induce feelings of pleasure similar to those of other opioids.

How Long Does Methadone Stay in Your System? | Recovery in Tune

Drug Testing for Methadone

While methadone is typically eliminated from a person’s system within a week and a half, traces of the drug can be detected for much longer, depending on the type of test used. Employers, addiction treatment programs, and law enforcement officials may all require a methadone drug test for one reason or another. Standard drug tests usually check for opioids such as heroin, but they don’t detect methadone. For this reason, specialized tests must be employed to screen for methadone use.

Urine Testing

Urine tests are the most commonly used method of testing for methadone. The detection window in a user’s system is one hour to two weeks following the last use. Urine tests are non-invasive, easy to administer, inexpensive, and have a relatively long detection period. Therefore, they are usually the favored mode of testing for methadone.

Saliva Testing

Saliva tests are also a convenient and non-invasive way to detect methadone use. Traces of methadone can be identified in saliva 30 minutes after administration and stay there for up to a few days following the last use.

Blood Testing

Methadone can be identified in the blood within 30 minutes of use and is detectable for several days. Blood tests are very accurate, but they are also more expensive, invasive, and have a relatively short detection window. For these reasons, they are not commonly used to test for methadone.

Hair Testing

Hair tests are appropriate to identify methadone use that has occurred over time. Someone with a chronic habit will have traces of methadone in their hair follicles. Moreover, a person who has just started taking methadone will not reveal the drug in their hair for at least a week after use.

It has been generally accepted that methadone will clear out of a person’s body entirely within two weeks. Heroin, conversely, has a much shorter half-life than methadone. Because of this, it is expelled out of the body much more rapidly, possibly in less than an hour.

Morphine, however, can take up to two days to clear from a person’s system. This fact is important to know because heroin is converted back into morphine in the body, so detection of morphine can indicate heroin use.

Methadone Addiction and Dependence

How Long Does Methadone Stay in Your System? | Recovery in Tune

Like all opioids, methadone can lead to abuse and addiction. Methadone can be habit-forming and must be used as directed by a healthcare provider and not for longer than needed. Factors such as a history of alcohol use, mental health conditions, and heart or breathing problems can increase a person’s likelihood of encountering adverse side effects.

Physical dependence on methadone can manifest if it is used regularly for a prolonged period. Once physical dependence onsets, a person will experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when he or she stops using methadone.

The timeline of withdrawal symptoms is comparable to that of other opioids. It is likely to begin within a couple of days after last use and can persist 7–10 days. Severe side effects, such as profound dehydration, have occurred in those who have suddenly stopped taking methadone “cold turkey.”

Common methadone withdrawal symptoms include the following:

  • Shaking
  • Stomach cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Anxiety
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Chills
  • Excessive sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Restlessness
  • Body aches and pains
  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Increased breathing rate
  • Elevated heart rate

When administered correctly, methadone will be closely monitored by healthcare providers and only used for a short period, so dependence and addiction are less likely to occur.

Treatment for Opioid Addiction

Methadone is used as a treatment in those who have developed a dependence on stronger opioids, such as heroin or fentanyl. However, methadone itself does carry the potential for abuse, dependence, and addiction. For this reason, people have found themselves seeking treatment for methadone, regardless of whether it was prescribed legally or obtained illicitly.

Recovery in Tune offers outpatient programs that specialize in the treatment of opioid dependence and other substance use disorders. We feature therapies proven to be vital to the process of recovery, including psychotherapy, counseling, peer group support, medication-assisted treatment, aftercare planning, and more.

If you or someone you know is abusing or dependent on methadone, contact us today! We can help you break free from the chains of addiction and begin to experience the fulfilling life you deserve!

Dangers of Using Opioids and Potentiators

Opioids and Potentiators | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Dangers of Using Opioids and Potentiators – Opioids are drugs used for pain relief that include both prescription medications and illegal drugs. Examples of prescription opioids are oxycodone and hydrocodone, and examples of illegal opioids are heroin and illicit fentanyl. Potentiators are substances that are used to intensify the effects of opioids.

For example, grapefruit juice increases the amount of an opioid available in a person’s blood plasma. This means that when someone drinks grapefruit juice and takes opioids, it increases the amount of the drug available for the body to use. It also increases the duration of the effects of the opioid.

How Opioids Are Combined with Potentiators

Many people combine opioid-based drugs with other substances to maximize their rewarding effects. Unfortunately, combining opioids with other substances is associated with many risks and possible interactions.

Even with seemingly innocent everyday substances, unintended complications can occur. Most dangerously, combining substances increases the chance of an overdose.

Orange and Grapefruit Juice

According to research, grapefruit juice, as well as some orange juices, can increase the concentration of oxycodone in the body. The result is an intensification of effects. In many cases, this interaction can be dangerous.

More of the drug can transfer from the digestive system into the bloodstream, and result in respiratory failure. Grapefruit juice can be consumed several hours after a pill with potentially dangerous repercussions.

Certain oranges have a comparable effect to grapefruit juice. People who eat limes or marmalade with oranges are also at risk. Those who take prescription opioids should also ask their doctor whether eating grapefruit is okay.

Other Potentiators

There are other substances that can potentiate opioids. Some people have tried Imodium, although they do not experience a “buzz” this way unless they use doses that are at least 150% higher than recommended.

Opioids and antihistamines are also dangerous to combine. These can produce respiratory depression and thicken bronchial secretions that can lead to acute bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia, and other serious conditions.

Phenyltoloxamine citrate is an antihistamine that can be purchased over the counter. It has been used in combination with opioids such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, codeine, and dihydrocodeine.

Doxylamine succinate, the active ingredient in NyQuil, has been combined with opioids as well. Dimetapp is another product known to increase the high experienced when used with opioid medications.

Dramamine can be useful in reducing nausea for those who take opiates. However, it can also intensify the desired effects. St. John’s wort is an herb that also can increase the stimulating properties of opioids.

Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or aspirin mixed with codeine and cyclobenzaprine can also boost euphoric effects, especially if the person does so on an empty stomach.

Additional substances commonly used to potentiate the effects of opioids include the following:

  • Alcohol
  • Orphenadrine citrate
  • Cyclobenzaprine
  • Diazepam
  • Barbiturates
  • Benadryl
NOTE: Drinking alcohol or taking barbiturates with opioids can produce life-threatening respiratory depression.

Consequences of Opioid Abuse

Opioids and Potentiators | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Intentionally using a potentiator with an opioid to enhance its effects is considered abuse. Abuse increases the risk of dependence, addiction, and overdose.

Dependence occurs when the body becomes accustomed to chronic drug exposure. Dependence is characterized by the onset of withdrawal symptoms when the person tries to quit. These may include the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Chills

People who have developed an addiction to opioids have lost the ability to control their behavior regarding the use of a substance. They engage in compulsive drug-seeking behavior despite incurring adverse consequences. Addiction occurs because, in essence, the use of some substances hijacks the reward and pleasure center of the brain.

Overdose

Mixing opioids with potentiators increases the risk of overdose. Opioid overdoses are potentially life-threatening and require immediate medical attention.

People who are at the highest risk:

  • Use other depressants
  • Are middle-aged or older
  • Use high amounts of opioids
  • Have a history of substance abuse

Symptoms of an overdose include shallow and slow breathing, confusion, unresponsiveness, and coma. As noted, an opioid overdose is a medical emergency, and 911 should be called immediately. Naloxone is frequently used by first responders to reverse the effects of opioids.

Getting Treatment for Opioid Addiction

If you are abusing opioids with potentiators, you are urged to seek professional help as soon as possible. If you know someone who is abusing opioids, consider staging an intervention and encourage them to seek treatment.

Recovery in Tune specializes in the treatment of drug and alcohol disorders. We offer comprehensive programs in flexible outpatient formats. Services include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Behavioral therapy
  • Individual/family counseling
  • Group support

If you or someone you love needs help, contact us today! Discover how we help those who need it most break free from the vicious cycle of addiction for life!

How Long Does Oxycodone Stay in Your System?

How Long Does Oxycodone Stay in Your System? | Recovery in Tune

How Long Does Oxycodone Stay in Your System? 

Oxycodone is detectable for:

  • Urine test: 3-4 days
  • Hair test: 90 days
  • Blood test: 24 hours
  • Saliva: 4 days

The half-life of Oxycodone, which is the time required for half of the drug to be eliminated from the body, is between 3.5 to 5.5 hours. Despite only taking around a day for the body to rid itself of oxycodone, the process of breaking down the active ingredients creates byproducts called metabolites, which are detected by these tests.

The length of time oxycodone stays in a person’s system is determined by several factors, including the following:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Weight
  • Height
  • Body fat percentage
  • Body mass index
  • Presence of food in GI tract
  • Kidney and liver function
  • Dosage consumed
  • Duration of consumption
  • Presence of alcohol or other opioid drugs

Oxycodone Facts

As a prescription medication, oxycodone is indicated to treat short-term moderate to severe pain such as from trauma, injury or surgery, but has also been used to treat chronic pain such as that related to cancer or palliative care. Oxycodone may be taken by itself or in combination with another medication, such as aspirin or acetaminophen.

Oxycodone can be administered in many different forms, such as by tablet, capsule, liquid solution, injection, suppository, or intranasally (snorting).

Brand names for oxycodone include the following:

  • Tylox
  • Percodan
  • OxyContin
  • Percocet
  • Roxicet
  • Endocet
  • Percodan
  • Endodan
  • Roxicodone
  • Oxynorm
  • Endone
  • Proladone
  • Targin
  • Xtampza

How Does Oxycodone Work?

Opioid-based substances stimulate the production of beta-endorphins, mitigating pain. Alongside the analgesic effect, beta-endorphins repress the production of GABA. GABA, when released, inhibits the production of dopamine.
Therefore, opioids increase dopamine concentrations in the brain, inducing feelings of happiness and euphoria. These effects can cause users to become dependent upon and addicted to opioids.

Oxycodone Abuse Or Addiction

Compared to other opioids, oxycodone is moderately potent, but still carries a high potential for abuse and habit formation. Oxycodone abuse may not be immediately noticeable because it can be legally obtained by prescription and sans drug paraphernalia. Because of this, it is important to know and be able to recognize the immediate effects of oxycodone, which include the following:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Apathy
  • Drowsiness
  • Decreased attention span
  • Slowed breathing
  • Flushed appearance

Oxycodone has many useful medical applications that help many people. Still, the dangers associated with its misuse are becoming more and more apparent. The euphoria induced by oxycodone motivates repeated use, which in turn increases the likelihood the user will develop dependence. Likewise, as with other opioids, oxycodone dependence develops rather quickly, contributing to its potential for abuse and addiction.

Side-effects of oxycodone abuse include the following:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness or faintness
  • Tiredness
  • Confusion and poor concentration
  • Restlessness
  • Blurred vision
  • Stiff muscles
  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Stomach ache, nausea, and vomiting
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Excess sweating
  • Slurred speech
  • Difficulty walking and poor motor coordination
  • Itchy skin/mild allergic rash
  • Vivid dreams
  • Seizures
  • Low blood pressure
  • Respiratory depression
  • Mood swings
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Dental problems
  • Swollen limbs
  • Heart failure

Alarmingly high overdose potential

Perhaps the most significant threat posed by oxycodone is its alarmingly high overdose potential. Oxycodone is a central nervous system depressant, and for this reason, abuse can result in seizures, cardiac arrest, coma, and death, especially when crushed tablets are snorted.

Furthermore, the probability of oxycodone overdose is dramatically increased when taken in conjunction with either alcohol, opiate/opioid, or another central nervous depressant.

Warning signs and symptoms of oxycodone overdose include the following:

  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Very slowed, stopped or labored breathing
  • Widened pupils
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Cold or clammy skin
  • Bluing of the lips, fingers, or extremities
  • Uncontrollable vomiting
  • Choking sounds
  • Extreme confusion
  • Marked impairments in thought, speech, and motor functions
  • Dangerously low blood pressure or heart rate
  • Fainting or unconsciousness
  • Limpness
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death

Getting Help: Oxycodone

How Long Does Oxycodone Stay in Your System? | Recovery in Tune

Addiction to oxycodone is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical assistance. Patients typically begin treatment with the help of specialists who develop a plan for detox and long-term therapy counseling.

A clinical detox is a medically-supervised process that provides patients with around-the-clock supervision and mental/physical healthcare to lessen severe withdrawal symptoms and avoid complications. Detox can take several days to complete and should be following by inpatient in intensive outpatient treatment for a minimum of 30 days.

Inpatient or rehab treatment involves a residential stay at the center 24/7 for several weeks while participating in behavioral therapy, counseling, and support groups. These patients benefit from constant supervision and support in a safe environment free from substances and the possibility of relapse.

During intensive outpatient treatment or IOP, the patient lives at a personal residence or sober living home while engaging in therapy and counseling, and attending group support meeting several times per week.

An outpatient format is recommended for those who need more flexibility to attend to critical life responsibilities or who have already completed a residential stay. Moreover, after inpatient treatment, patients can continue to benefit from ongoing therapeutic/support services while in the transition back to their normal lives.

Patients can also take advantage of aftercare planning services which help them locate resources outside of the center, such as psychiatric services or 12-step programs for ongoing recovery and support. Our center also hosts alumni events that allow former patients to reconnect and enjoy continuous peer group activity throughout the year.

If you or a loved one live with an addiction to oxycodone, contact us today. Call and speak to a representative to learn how individualized treatment programs address addiction and any co-occurring mental health disorders.

⟹ READ THIS NEXT: Oxycodone Effects and Symptoms

The Dangers of Using Norco and Alcohol

Norco and Alcohol | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

The Dangers of Using Norco and Alcohol – Both alcohol and prescription opioids such as Norco (hydrocodone) are frequently abused in the U.S. The risks of abusing either substance by themselves are significant, but when the substances are combined, these risks are increased even further.

Alcohol Abuse

According to a survey by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA, 2015), more than 85% of people age 18 and older reported consuming alcohol at some point in their lives. In fact, excessive drinking is a serious problem in the United States, as the same survey found that more than 25% of people also reported past-month binge drinking.

Alcohol use disorders (AUDs) are characterized by problematic alcohol use and manifest as a result of chronic consumption. An estimated 88,000 people in the U.S. die each year from causes related to alcohol, making it the fourth-highest preventable cause of death in the country.

What Is Norco (Hydrocodone)?

Norco is a prescription painkiller that includes hydrocodone, an opioid, and the over-the-counter pain reliever acetaminophen (Tylenol). Opioids block some of the brain’s nerve receptors and are frequently prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain. Acetaminophen’s exact mechanism of action is not known, but experts believe it may reduce the production of prostaglandins, chemicals in the brain that cause inflammation and swelling.

Common side effects of hydrocodone include sedation, dizziness, nausea, and constipation. There is also the potential for additional serious side effects to occur, including the following:

  • Breathing problems
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Abdominal pain
  • Depression and mood swings

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) states that hydrocodone is the most often prescribed opioid in the U.S. And, unfortunately, it’s potential to induce euphoric feelings and sedation make it attractive to would-be recreational users.

Norco Abuse

With the extended use of Norco, a physical dependence can develop, hallmarked by withdrawal symptoms when the person discontinues using the medication. As a person’s tolerance to the drug builds, increasing amounts are needed to achieve the same effects. At this point, a person may then start to increase the dosage or change the method of administration (e.g., crushing pills and snorting residual powder) and initiate an escalating pattern of abuse that can rapidly lead to addiction.

How Using Norco and Alcohol Affects the Liver

Norco and Alcohol | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Combining Norco and alcohol can be risky for a number of reasons. First, as with any drug containing acetaminophen, consuming alcohol in combination with it can result in severe liver damage. In fact, Norco is packaged with warning labels regarding its acetaminophen content.

If alcohol and acetaminophen are combined, this can result in alcohol-acetaminophen syndrome (AAS). AAS is hallmarked by increased levels of transaminase, a liver protein that helps with metabolism. This effect is a warning sign that the liver is working overtime to break down both the acetaminophen and the alcohol, which can cause severe liver damage or failure.

AAS may occur because alcohol is metabolized by the liver first, meaning that the toxic materials in acetaminophen are neglected. It has been believed that this form of hepatotoxicity could be the leading cause of acute liver failure in the United States.

Other Dangers of Combining Norco and Alcohol

Unfortunately, although acetaminophen presents significant dangers when used in conjunction with alcohol, the pleasurable effects of hydrocodone often encourage polydrug use. What’s more is that alcohol is a popular choice as a secondary substance.

Concurrent use can cause the following symptoms:

  • Poor judgment
  • Confusion
  • Impaired motor skills
  • Respiratory problems
  • Excessive sedation
  • Coma and death

Moreover, drinking alcohol while taking any drug containing hydrocodone can result in life-threatening effects. Alcohol amplifies and accelerates the release of hydrocodone into the system, which can lead to perilously high levels of the drug in the body. Alcohol consumption also increases the drug’s absorption.

While people often deliberately combine hydrocodone and alcohol, it can also happen unintentionally. Those using Norco should confirm the alcohol content of anything they consume. For example, something as seemingly innocuous as over-the-counter cough syrup may contain alcohol, and even a standard dosage can result in a significant reaction when used with hydrocodone.

Finally, operating a motor vehicle or other machinery can be dangerous after consuming either Norco or alcohol, but doing so after using a combination of both can be especially hazardous. Mixing the two substances can result in impaired judgment and making the decision to get behind the wheel. In addition, impairment of motor skills can make it very difficult, if not impossible, for a person to safely operate a motor vehicle once he or she is on the road.

Treatment for Norco and Alcohol Addiction

Addiction to either Norco or alcohol alone can have devastating effects, but combining the two substances compounds these effects and makes their use even more dangerous and potentially life-threatening. People who are abusing Norco and alcohol are urged to seek treatment at Recovery in Tune where we offer comprehensive, evidence-based services, such as psychotherapy, counseling, and group support.

We can help you restore balance and wellness to your life, free from drugs and alcohol indefinitely. Contact us today to find out how!

Snorting Percocet

Snorting Percocet | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Snorting Percocet – Snorting Percocet is a method that some people use to achieve a faster, more intense high. Those who crush and snort Percocet may be misusing their own prescription medication, or they may be obtaining it illegally from friends, family, or the black market.

What Is Percocet?

Percocet tablets contain the active ingredients oxycodone and acetaminophen. Oxycodone is a potent opioid painkiller, and Percocet is often used for the treatment of moderate-moderately severe pain. There are other non-active ingredients also present in Percocet. These include the following:

  • Colloidal silicon dioxide
  • Croscarmellose sodium
  • Crospovidone
  • Microcrystalline cellulose
  • Pregelatinized cornstarch
  • Stearic acid

Moreover, when snorting Percocet, in addition to oxycodone and acetaminophen, people are also inhaling these chemicals into their nasal passage.

Effects and Side Effects of Snorting Percocet

Crushing and snorting Percocet causes a rapid release of oxycodone, increased absorption in the body, and high peak concentrations of oxycodone in the blood. When oxycodone passes through the blood-brain barrier, it works by binding to opioid receptors, which are proteins found on nerve cells. Once oxycodone is attached to these receptors, it begins to block the perception of pain.

It is also this same chemical reaction along with a massive boost in dopamine that induces feelings of euphoria, an effect that greatly contributes to Percocet’s high potential for abuse and addiction. When a person snorts Percocet, high feelings are intensified, and the user also faces an increased risk for severe medical consequences, such as addiction and death.

Taking Percocet as directed can result in side effects, such as dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, vomiting, and sedation. Snorting Percocet has been associated with other, more severe symptoms. These include the following:

  • Abnormally slow heart rate
  • Slow, labored breathing
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Muscular flaccidity
  • Lung damage
  • Liver and kidney damage
  • Brain damage
  • Respiratory depression
  • Stupor
  • Coma
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Death

Snorting drugs such as Percocet can also cause frequent nose bleeds, nasal congestion, severely dry mouth and throat, and watery eyes.

Snorting Percocet Vs. Oral Administration

Opioids such as Percocet can be absorbed in the body through several routes. Doctors usually prescribe oral Percocet for safety reasons. Oxycodone has a somewhat high bioavailability (between 60-87% of an oral dose of oxycodone reaches the systemic circulation), and its effects last 3-6 hours.

The primary difference between ingesting Percocet orally and snorting Percocet is the onset of action. After oral administration of prescription dosages of oxycodone, an analgesic effect occurs within 15 minutes, and this effect peaks in around 30-60 minutes. Conversely, snorting Percocet rapidly generates high blood concentrations of Percocet, so pain relief and the corresponding euphoria are nearly immediate. Unfortunately, this fast and intense high also places users at risk for acute toxicity (overdose).

Snorting Percocet | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Dangers of Snorting Percocet

Percocet contains oxycodone, which is a narcotic. The following are risks and dangers that have been associated with snorting oxycodone:

Risk of accident and injury – Percocet can impair a person’s ability to operate a car or other machinery. Snorting Percocet can rapidly dull the senses and decrease alertness, and therefore activities that require a quick response time should be avoided. Also, impaired coordination may result in injuries from falls.

Risk of addiction – One of the real dangers of snorting Percocet is the risk of addiction. Even when used as directed, Percocet can lead to physical and psychological dependence when taken for an extended period. Snorting Percocet for its high effect significantly increases the risk of addiction, as well.

Risk of damage to nasal passages – Snorting Percocet for a prolonged period can result in damage to the nasal cavity and difficulty swallowing. In extreme cases, nasal damage may be extensive and result in permanent injury and scarring.

Risk of disease – Sharing straws or other objects to inhale Percocet into the nose can lead to the contraction of blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis or bacterial infections.

Risk of overdose – Snorting Percocet puts one at risk of depressing the central nervous system to levels that result in respiratory arrest or heart failure and death.

Treatment for Percocet Addiction

People who abuse Percocet, particularly in conjunction with other drugs or alcohol, face a high risk of developing significant health problems or experiencing a life-threatening overdose. For this reason, these individuals are urged to seek professional addiction treatment to help them detox from Percocet and learn how to maintain long-term sobriety.

Recovery in Tune offers a comprehensive, evidence-based approach that features therapies, counseling, and other services scientifically proven to be effective and vital to the recovery process. We are dedicated to helping people free themselves from the grip of addiction by providing them with the resources, tools, and support they desperately need to prevent relapse and stay sober indefinitely.

Contact us today and discover how we can help you restore your health and well-being and reclaim the fulfilling and happy life you deserve!

Oxycodone Effects and Symptoms

Oxycodone Effects and Symptoms | Recovery in Tune

Oxycodone Effects, Overdose, and Withdrawal Symptoms – Oxycodone is a prescription opioid painkiller that works by altering how the brain interprets pain. It is prescribed to treat moderate-severe pain, and commonly found under the brand names OxyContin, Percocet, Roxicodone, and Percodan.

Oxycodone is classified as a Schedule II substance by the Drug Enforcement Administration. This indicates that it has an accepted medical purpose, but also has a high potential for abuse and can lead to chemical and psychological dependence.

Oxycodone is most often found in pill form (with immediate and extended-release formulation) and is often combined with other drugs such as acetaminophen (e.g., Percocet). It is also occasionally administered in liquid form (Oxydose).

Oxycodone can induce intensely pleasurable feelings and rewarding sensations. As such, it has a high potential for misuse and dependence. Using oxycodone for non-medical purposes also increases the risk of overdose, as recreational methods of administrating it (e.g., crushing and snorting) accelerate the rate and amount in which the drug is consumed.

Oxycodone Effects

Short-Term Effects

When used as directed, oxycodone can produce the following:

  • Euphoria
  • Pain relief
  • Extreme relaxation and sedation
  • Decreased anxiety

Side Effects

Oxycodone is a potent opioid that can also provoke several unwanted side effects, such as the following:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Stomach aches and pain
  • Drowsiness
  • Flushing and sweating
  • Itchiness
  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Adverse changes in mood

These side effects can make the user very uncomfortable, and tend to worsen as the dose increases. Other side effects may be much more severe and may require immediate medical attention. These include the following:

  • Irregular heart rate
  • Chest pain
  • Hives, rash, and itching
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Postural hypotension
  • Lightheadedness
  • Seizures

Oxycodone can also cause edema (swelling) in the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, lower legs, ankles, or feet.

Oxycodone Overdose

Oxycodone Effects and Symptoms | Recovery in Tune

Among the most severe and dangerous effects of oxycodone use are related to the breathing problems that it can produce. A perilously slow respiratory rate can rapidly become life-threatening and is a likely characteristic of an overdose, especially if other substances are involved. Alcohol, opioids, and benzodiazepines have similar depressant effects and when used in combination pose a much higher risk of overdose.

Symptoms of oxycodone overdose include:

  • Labored breathing
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Pinpoint or dilated pupils
  • Dizziness and fainting
  • Limp or weak muscles
  • Slow or stopped heartbeat
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Cyanosis
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Coma
  • Death

Long-Term Dangers

On the one hand, many people and medical providers find that oxycodone is extremely effective for the management of chronic pain. On the other hand, when used long-term, oxycodone can have harmful psychological and physiological effects, including dependence and addiction.

Extended oxycodone use has been linked to kidney and liver failure, as well as impaired cognitive function. Combination products present an even greater risk – the prolonged use of any medication combining oxycodone and acetaminophen can result in severe liver damage. What’s more, adding alcohol increases these associated risks.

Development of Dependence and Tolerance

As noted, oxycodone is classified as a Schedule II drug, meaning that despite its therapeutic value, it still has a high potential for abuse, dependence, and addiction.

Chemical dependence occurs as the brain adapts to the consistently elevated presence of a substance in a person’s system. Over time, certain physiological processes are impaired when the drug isn’t available, which result in the body becoming unable to operate “normally” without the drug’s presence. When a user tries to quit, he or she will encounter very unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, which are often uncomfortable enough to compel the person to resume using the drug to avoid them.

The development of tolerance is another result of prolonged oxycodone use, since, over time, the body tends to diminish the effects of certain substances in response to repeated exposure.

Oxycodone Withdrawal

As with other opioids, withdrawal symptoms of oxycodone are flu-like, and may include the following:

  • Restlessness
  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Muscle or joint pains
  • Muscle weakness
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Rapid pulse and breathing

Treatment for Oxycodone Addiction

Recovery in Tune offers a comprehensive approach to the treatment of oxycodone addiction that includes cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT is an evidence-based, psychotherapeutic strategy that addresses the underlying factors that contribute to addiction. Working with a therapist in this way helps patients reframe negative thoughts and develop the healthy behaviors and coping skills they need to prevent relapse in the future.

We also provide several other services vital to the recovery process, including individual and group counseling, group support, health and wellness programs, and aftercare planning for the long-term maintenance of sobriety.

Please contact us as soon as possible if you or someone you know is abusing oxycodone, other prescription medications, illicit drugs, or alcohol. We are dedicated to helping people free themselves from the shackles of addiction and begin to enjoy the healthy and fulfilling lives they deserve!

Related: Neurontin Abuse