In 2010, Purdue Pharmaceuticals released a new form of OxyContin, known as OxyNEO, that was designed to be tamperproof and addiction resistant. The drug couldn’t be crushed and snorted, or crushed and injected, and pharmacists felt sure that the new formulation would result in a deep dip in the number of people who reported addictions to OxyContin. The results didn’t work out quite as planned, and OxyContin abuse continued with full force. According to the Globe and Mail, when OxyContin became unavailable in the United States, the number of prescriptions for the drug that were filled across the Canadian border began to rise. People didn’t overcome their addictions with a new drug formulation. Instead, they found a new place to get the drugs they craved.
With specialized help just like this, people can overcome their addiction issues and move forward to develop healthier and happier lives.
Treatment Options for OxyContin Abuse
There are a variety of different treatment approaches that can be used in the fight against OxyContin abuse and addiction, and according to a study in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, the number of treatment options used and the setting of those treatment choices aren’t related to success in rehab. A person who uses more treatment tools isn’t necessarily a more “intense addict” than someone who needs only one or two different kinds of treatment, and using just a few therapies doesn’t mean someone can’t heal.
OxyContin addiction can be addressed in an outpatient program, which might allow the person to continue to work and care for family members while also receiving intensive care for an addiction. Outpatient program setting might not be right for all people, however. OxyContin is a popular drug that’s easy to find almost everywhere. For example, the Medicine Abuse Project reports that 65 percent of teens who abuse prescription drugs like OxyContin claim they got the drug from their friends or family members. It might be all too easy for people in the early stages of recovery to turn to those they know and relapse right back into drug use. Inpatient programs make this much harder to accomplish, as there are no drugs allowed on the premises of these facilities. For some people, this can be an incredible help.
They might be asked to weigh in on the facility that will provide care, and when they’re enrolled, they might also be asked to provide feedback about the types of treatments they’ll accept and the kinds of therapies they feel might be helpful. These decisions can help people to feel more committed to their treatment programs and less likely to drop out, and they can provide people with a sense of power and control that might have been lacking as the addiction has moved forward.
People who feel like this might not be physically capable of participating in their treatment programs, as they feel too physically ill to do much of anything at all. Medications are often used in the early part of the recovery process, to help ease these symptoms and allow people to feel more comfortable. Some people need to stay on these medications as they move through rehab, so they don’t feel cravings for OxyContin returning.
When people attempt to stop abusing OxyContin, they may feel a variety of unpleasant symptoms, including:
- Stomach cramps
- Uncontrolled sweating
- Jerking muscles
Buprenorphine received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2002, and according to the National Institutes of Health, this marked a “sea change in opioid addiction treatment.” Instead of receiving medications on a daily basis under the supervision of a medical professional, people can take the medication on their own at home. Since people who have OxyContin addictions have a history of taking medications in ways in which they were not intended, buprenorphine use is monitored quite closely in this population, and some people are provided with pills that contain an anti-abuse ingredient. If these users try to crush the pills and inject the ingredients, the added ingredient will keep the method from bringing about pleasurable results.
The person in treatment will work closely with his/her doctor in order to find the right dose and the right dosing schedule. The amount of replacement medications given is deeply dependent on the amount of drugs the person once took. People who took very high doses of OxyContin for long periods of time, for example, might need higher doses of replacement medications for longer periods of time. But there are some people who don’t need high doses of replacement medications in order to feel happy and well. Some people don’t even need to take any medications at all.
Addiction therapies are sometimes held in one-on-one sessions between a therapist and a patient, but there are some types of therapy that can be provided to entire groups of people who share the same disorders and the same medical histories. For example, an article in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment outlines a form of group therapy given to people who have post-traumatic stress disorder as well as addiction.
In these therapy sessions, people:
- Learn about their conditions
- Improve skills that may have deteriorated during the disease process
- Develop skills to control their triggers
- Prevent a relapse
Therapy sessions might involve simple talking and gentle questioning, or therapy might involve reading educational materials and discussing the lessons. Some therapists ask their clients to perform art projects, and discuss what they think their completed projects mean. Other therapists ask their clients to go on educational hikes or walks, and discuss how their lives might be different if they left their OxyContin abuse behind. One person’s therapy might not look anything like another person’s therapy program. It just depends on what the person needs to learn, how comfortable that person feels about discussing the issue and where that person feels most comfortable in talking openly.
Support Group Participation
Rehab programs often require their clients to participate in addiction support groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous. This might be one aspect of care that clients don’t have control over, and according to a study in the journal Addiction, there’s good reason for facilities to encourage their clients to participate.
In this study, researchers found that people who participated in addiction support groups had better drug use outcomes at six months, compared to clients who didn’t participate, and those who were referred to these programs were more likely to attend the meetings. Just suggesting participation doesn’t seem to be enough.
While there are no national 12-step addiction support groups that have been specifically designed to help people with OxyContin addiction, many people find relief through their participation in Narcotics Anonymous. Here, they can discuss why they started taking the drug and what they have done to stop the abuse. They can listen to stories of other people in recovery, and perhaps pick up new ideas they can use in their own treatment programs. And they can tap into a community of people who seem to understand how devastating this addiction really can be.
Find Out More
OxyContin addictions can be devastating and reading about all of the treatment options available can be slightly confusing. You might be left wondering how you’ll ever make an informed choice and how you might best get started. We can help.
At The Oaks at La Paloma, we specialize in helping people who have both OxyContin addictions and mental illnesses, and we provide care on an inpatient and outpatient basis.
We can help to explain your treatment options and get you enrolled in an OxyContin program that can help. Please call us for more information.