Are More Young People Becoming Addicted to Oxycodone?

Are More Young People Becoming Addicted to Oxycodone?

People who abuse prescription drugs at a young age could trigger addiction to more dangerous substances

Individual differences strongly determine trends in substance abuse. These differences go beyond age, gender and ethnicity, because many people choose drugs depending on the amount of risk they are willing to take or how easily they can obtain certain substances.

This fact can be illustrated with a 2013 study posted in the US National Library of Medicine. Some users prefer oxycodone instead of hydrocodone, like elderly women and non-injectors who are prone to opiate abuse with hydrocodone; on the other hand, young risk-tolerant males were more inclined to oxycodone abuse.

The research also notes that young men are more inclined to abuse oxycodone, because, by injecting or snorting the drug, these men felt that the quality of the high was much better. As a result, they were willing to take more risks or to resort to aggression to obtain the substance.

While older people who suffer from chronic pain are more likely to abuse painkillers, recreational users have no age limit, as the trends of oxycodone addiction have varied among young people.

However, young adults have abused oxycodone less in the latest surveys due to stricter regulations for prescriptions, and because the pills now incorporate abuse-deterrent technologies. Also, the cost of a single oxycodone pill now exceeds the cost of similar drugs, like heroin.

According to SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), 21.7 is the average age of first-time painkiller users. However, the trend also shows that these users might quickly move to heroin if it is more available and cheaper. The average age to start using heroin was 24.5 among the group of 12 to 49 years.

Why Is Oxycodone Addiction so Dangerous?

Oxycodone is an opioid with strong analgesic characteristics. It is a narcotic that acts directly in the central nervous system for chronic pain or pain from cancer. Tolerance and dependence form quickly, especially in recreational users, so cutting the supply of the substance triggers withdrawal symptoms. Death by respiratory depression is one possible risk of overdose.

People who begin abusing painkillers at a young age usually obtain the drug from the a family member’s or friend’s prescription. As these drug users grow up, it becomes more difficult to obtain prescription medications, so they may resort to illegal opioids, such as heroin. In other words, it is vital to act quickly to stop addiction before the consequences become irreversible.

Find Help for Opiate Abuse

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