Oxycodone is in the class of drugs known as opioids, or opiates. It is a semi-synthetic medication often prescribed for moderate to severe pain management, but increasingly often, is now used irresponsibly.

Rather than heroine, cocaine, or methamphetamine, that you’d assume were the deadliest drugs in Clark County, this prescribed medication is actually the leading cause of drug-related death in the county.

Oxycodone was responsible for 146 deaths in Clark County last year due to overdose.

During an overdose, users may feel as if they are passing out, when in actuality, they are slipping into overdose that can lead to death. It may be hard to wake the person up who has taken the pills and, if it progresses past a certain point, oxycodone use can lead to difficulty breathing. Breathing can stop altogether, causing death.

Some overdoses are intentional, however, there are many cases when it happens unintentionally. Mixing oxycodone with other reactive substances like alcohol or other medications, taking too much of the medicine in order to relieve pain, or using more to get a high can all lead to an overdose.

If you suspect that somebody you know may be experiencing an oxycodone overdose, check their eyes. People overdosing will generally have extremely small, or pinpoint, pupils. Difficulty breathing or waking up are also warning signs. If this occurs, call 911 and tell the emergency dispatchers the person’s exact symptoms. Try to also find any containers that may have held the pills to help the hospital better identify what the person took.

Oxycodone is prescribed legally as a pain management therapy and, when used responsibly and with physician oversight, it can be an effective way for managing pain.

People who do end up abusing oxycodone, however, may be getting it from a doctor, but they may also be buying it from dealers or even stealing it from medicine cabinets if another member of the family has a prescription for it. According to Dr. Pohl, medical director of the Las Vegas Recovery Center, young people that abuse the drug are “getting them from parents’ medicine cabinets 70 percent of the time.”

Do you take oxycodone for pain management? How can you better protect it in order to prevent others from accessing it? 

Image by cosmo flash via Flickr


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