OxyContin vs Oxycodone: How are they different?

You may have already heard of the drugs oxycodone and OxyContin. OxyContin is a brand name for a manufactured drug containing the chemical oxycodone. Oxycodone itself is an opioid that is derived from an alkaloid contained in the naturally occurring poppy flower. OxyContin contains oxycodone as well as a chemical mechanism that extends the period of time that oxycodone is effective. As the painkiller lasts a longer amount of time, users with a prescription for OxyContin do not have to take the drug as often. Let’s explore the difference between the two and the role they play in today’s society. Both are classified as schedule II substance by the Drug Enforcement Administration.


What Separates OxyContin from Oxycodone?

The names and functions of these two drugs are very similar and it is easy to mix up the two. OxyContin was first created in the year 1995 by Purdue Pharma, the company that manufactures OxyContin. Being a powerful and addictive opiate, the drug was a great commercial success. Unfortunately, and for the same reasons, it has a profoundly negative effect on society as a whole. Dr. Art Van Zee explores this relationship in his research on the subject.

As many have already seen in the news and elsewhere, abuse of prescription drugs is increasing and causing a multitude of issues. This is the result of many factors, but primarily the addictive nature of the drug, the soaring profits generated for drug companies from its manufacture, and the obscene amounts of funds being spent on marketing directly to doctors who can legally prescribe the drug as well as the public at large. Logically, this marketing and bribery are being carried out by the same companies who manufacture and sell the prescription drugs. What is occurring is a vicious cycle fueled by addiction. Unfortunately, nothing in this process is explicitly illegal. While prescription opioids continue to create an epidemic of addiction and overdose in the United States, Purdue Pharma has very recently decided to stop marketing the drug directly to doctors.

Oxycodone by itself is a simple opioid and painkiller. Frequently, oxycodone is mixed with ibuprofen or even Tylenol. Drugs besides OxyContin that contain oxycodone include Percocet, Percodan, and Tylox.

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Difference in Effect

While OxyContin contains oxycodone, the two drugs have distinct effects. The effects of oxycodone last for roughly four hours, six hours at most. OxyContin contains a potent concentration of oxycodone and the mechanism of a timed release allows it to last for as long as twelve hours.

Risks in the Abuse of OxyContin and the Danger of Overdose

Research on the abuse of oxycodone has revealed that the drug has been abused for over thirty years. It was not until OxyContin was invented and manufactured that abuse of oxycodone skyrocketed. Like any other opiate drug, OxyContin is highly addictive and lethal at certain doses and in certain contexts. A simple overdose of OxyContin alone is lethal. Combining OxyContin use with other depressant drugs such as alcohol, benzodiazepine drugs (benzos), and other opiates can also lead to fatal overdose.

Slang Terms

One of the most commonly used nicknames for OxyContin is simply “Oxy”. However, other terms that may be used include:

  • OC’s

  • 20s

  • 40s

  • 80s (in reference to milligram dosage)

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Addiction to OxyContin and Oxycodone

Research has shown that OxyContin is the single most highly abused opioid drug in the USA. This may come as a surprise to many who associate opioid abuse with illicit substances such as heroin or fentanyl. There are many reasons for this, but the main ones include its status as a legal and prescribed substance, obscene over-prescribing by medical professionals, social acceptance as a legitimate medication, and of course the highly addictive nature of opiate drugs in general. Much like heroin or any other illicit opiate, OxyContin is abused orally, crushed and snorted, and even sometimes injected directly into the bloodstream. The chemical mechanism and effect of OxyContin and Oxycodone are identical to heroin or any other type of opiate. In the case of OxyContin, the drug is an even more potent alternative to heroin for many.

Treating Addiction to OxyContin, Oxycodone, and Other Prescription Drugs

If you or someone you know is addicted to prescription drugs such as OxyContin or Oxycodone, there is still hope and a way to recover. It is important for those with an addiction to reach out to others for help. Of course, this is easier said than done, but it may be a life-saving action.

Detox programs, rehabilitation centers, recovery programs, and positive support networks of friends and family can help defeat addiction to prescription drugs. The first step in defeating addiction to prescription drugs is reaching out for help. There is no shame in reaching out for assistance, we all need someone to rely on and no one gets through life alone. There are plenty of people across the world who are more than willing to help you or someone you love get through their addictions and take control of their life. OxyContin and Oxycodone addiction is a major epidemic in the USA and every effort fighting it helps.

Want more information about how Chapters Capistrano can help? Feel free to call 949-276-2886 and one of our addiction specialists will help get the information and help you need.

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Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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