OxyContin is one of a number of narcotic drugs other than heroin- all controlled substances. Many are analgesics that can be prescribed by physicians and dentists for pain. Like heroin, many are derived from opium, but there are also a number of synthetic analogues in use today, including oxycontin and vicodin. OxyContin use increase steadily among all grades from when it was first measured in 2002 until 2008, though the trend lines have been irregular. Oxycodone is a narcotic prescribed to relieve pain and is twice as potent as morphine. There are many variations of Oxycodone products on the market but of those, OxyContin, Percocet, and Percodan are used and abused most frequently.
OxyContin is a times-release version of Oxycodone and until recently, was the only extended release version of Oxycodone. In March 2004, a genetic version became available by prescription. The generic version quickly became available on the illegal drug market and may pose a significant threat because it is only available in 80 mg. doses, whereas OxyCotin is available in 10, 20, 40, and 80 mg. doses. Oxycodone HCI ER (the generic version) comes in small oval, light green tablets. One side of the tablet is labeled “93” the other side is labeled “33.”
OxyContin is reportedly crushed and then snorted or injected. Used as a substitute for heroin, abusers use the drug to relieve pain, alleviate withdrawal symptoms, and gain euphoric effects typically associated with use of the drug. OxyContin generally sells for $5 to $80 per tablet, depending on the strength of the dose.
Possible negative effects:
- Allergic Reaction
- Difficulty Breathing
- Swelling of the Face
- Loss of Consciousness
- Respiratory Depression
- Physical Tolerance
- Psychological and Physical Dependence
- Withdrawal Symptoms:
- Muscle and Bone Pain
- Cold Flashes
- Involuntary Leg Movement
- Signs and Symptoms:
- Pinpoint Pupils
- Impaired Coordination
- Muscle Relaxation
- Lower Blood Pressure
- Lower Heart and Respiratory Rate
Hydrocodone is a legal opiate prescribed for pain that has qualities similar to morphine. There are over 200 medications that contain hydrocodone, and in the United States, over 20 tons of hydrocodone are used annually. Hydrocodone is available in pill and syrup forms. Vicodin (hydrocodone with acetomenaphen), is one of the most commonly abused forms of hydrocodone. Not only is abuse of hydrocodone dangerous and addictive, high doses of acetaminophen can severely damage the liver. Its analgesic potency is from two to eight times that of morphine, but it is shorter acting and produces more sedation than morphine. Much sought after by narcotic addicts, hydromorphone is usually obtained by the abuser through fraudulent prescriptions or theft. The tablets are often dissolved and injected as a substitute for heroin. Brand names for hydrocodone products include Anexsia, Hycodan, Hycomine, Lorcet, Lortab, Tussionex, Tylox, Vicodin, and Vicoprofen, Hydromorphone, is marketing in tablets (2,4,8 mg), rectal suppositories, oral solutions, and injectable formulations. An allergic reaction, difficulty breathing, closing of the throat, facial swelling, hives, seizures, loss of consciousness, and coma are also possible consequences of hydrocodone use. Long-term effects include constipation, dryness of the mouth, respiratory depression, physical tolerance, and psychological and physical dependence.
The opium poppy is the key ingredient for all narcotics. Opium is the milky latex fluid contained in the unripe seedpod of the poppy plant. Although some narcotics are produced synthetically, they are made to replicate the makeup of ingredients extracted from the opium poppy.
Opium grows in Southeast Asia, Southwest Asia, and in the Western Hemisphere (Mexico, Guatemala, and Colombia). Opium is converted into heroin in laboratories in the countries where it is cultivated, and then consumed locally or shipped to consumer countries. Opium grown in Afghanistan and South West Asia is generally consumed in Asian and European markets. Opium grown in Colombia and Mexico is generally consumed in North and South America. Afghanistan has become by far the world leader in the supply of illicit opium – producing 92% of the total world supply.
Opium consists of morphine, codeine, thebaine, and other substance. Opium (specifically its derivative, morphine) is used to make heroin, the most abused of the narcotics. Effects of long-term use include physical and psychological dependence, addiction and physical tolerance; mood swings, severe constipation, menstrual irregularities, lung damage, skin infections, seizures, unconsciousness, and coma.
Heroin is usually injected, sniffed/snorted, or smoked. Injection continues to be the predominant method of heroin use among addicted users seeking treatment. Researchers however, have observed a shift in heroin use patterns, from injection to sniffing and smoking. Typically, a heroin abuser may inject up to four times a day. Intravenous injection provides the greatest intensity and most rapid onset of euphoria (7-8 seconds, while intramuscular injection produces a relatively slow onset of euphoria (5-8 minutes). When heroin is sniffed or smoked, peak effects are usually felt within 10-15 minutes.
Heroin addicts are at risk of contracting HIV, Hepatitis C, and other blood-borne pathogens through sharing and reusing syringes and injection paraphernalia that have been used by infected individuals. Injection drug use has been a factor in an estimated one-third of all HIV and more than half of all Hepatitis C cases in the United States. There are an estimated 2 million heroin users in the United States, with some 600,000 to 800,000 considered hardcore addicts.
Signs and Symptoms:
- Pinpoint Pupils
- No Response of Pupils to Light
- A Rush of Pleasurable Feeling
- Cessation of Physical Pain
- Slurred Speech
- Shallow Breathing
- A Drop in Body Temperature
- Loss of Appetite