In The Know Zone

Long Term Effects

The most common long-term effect of abusing OxyContin®, and perhaps the worst effect, is the addiction itself. Addiction ruins a person’s life bit by bit, becoming worse over time. In this way, OxyContin® abuse is no different from heroin, cocaine, or alcohol abuse. The addict changes his or her entire lifestyle to allow for more and more drug use.

Some OxyContin® abusers begin their abuse with a prescription written for them, either for real pain or faked pain. Some of these people have access to insurance benefits that will pay all or most of the cost of their prescriptions. During this period, an OxyContin® abuser can go downhill quickly because there is no financial barrier to increased consumption. Sooner or later, however, the person’s doctor determines that there is an abuse problem going on, and won’t prescribe more. The addict then begins buying the drugs on the black market. The street price of OxyContin® is very high. Addicts begin stealing, robbing, and even going into prostitution to raise the money they need to service their addiction.

Health Damage from Long-Term OxyContin® Abuse

OxyContin® was marketed for the first time beginning in 1996. Therefore, it has not been many years that people have been abusing it. However, much is known about the opioid drugs in general, as they have been in use for hundreds of years in one form or another.

Long-term physical effects of OxyContin® abuse, or any opioid drug abuse, include:

Painful Withdrawal that Maintains Addiction

  • Restlessness
  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Muscle spasms
  • Insomnia
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Chills and goose bumps
  • Intense anxiety

Cardiovascular Damage (Primarily due to injecting the drugs)

  • Endocarditis -- Heart infection
  • Scarred and/or collapsed veins
  • Blood vessels clogged by foreign particles, causing cell death

Infections (Primarily due to injecting the drugs)

  • Boils and abscesses
  • Soft-tissue infections
  • Systemic infections (bacteremia or sepsis)
  • Viruses
    • (These may be due to unsafe sex brought on by being under the influence or while seeking money for drugs or may be caused by injecting the drugs.)
  • Hepatitis B and C

Other Organ Damage and Disease

  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Arthritis (Primarily due to injecting the drugs)

Danger During Pregnancy

  • Miscarriage, premature delivery, or stillbirth of pregnancies.
  • Addicted newborns
  • Greater risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (“crib death”)
In The Know: Substance Abuse Pamphlet/ DVD Package
"In the Know: OxyContin, Abusers Beware" Pamphlet
In The Know: Substance Abuse DVD Package