Oxycodone is an opioid medication that is prescribed for moderate to severe pain relief. Opioids inhibit the transmission of pain signals by attaching to and activating opioid receptor proteins found on nerve cells in the brain, spinal cord, gastrointestinal tract, and other organs.1 While opioids like oxycodone help with pain management, they are also powerful medications with a high potential for abuse and addiction.
This page will provide more insight into oxycodone, its addictive nature, its effects, signs of oxycodone abuse, how oxycodone addiction is treated, and whether you can use your insurance plan to obtain oxycodone addiction treatment and rehab.
What is Oxycodone Addiction?
Oxycodone addiction is the continued, compulsive use of oxycodone despite serious negative consequences, such as health, work, school, and relationship problems.1 Addiction is a treatable medical illness that affects the brain and changes behaviors such as self-control.2
Oxycodone and other prescription opioid use in the United States is a serious public health issue. According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, approximately 3.2 million people in the United States aged 12 or older misused oxycodone in the past year. The same survey estimated 9.7 million people aged 12 or older misused prescription opioids in the past year.3
Checking Your Insurance Benefits
If you are looking for oxycodone addiction treatment, it can feel overwhelming As you consider your options, knowing exactly what your insurance plan covers can give you peace of mind while you or your loved one is in rehab. You can do the work of getting and staying sober without worrying about unexpected costs or financial struggles. For more information on what your insurance plan covers, call AAC at , click here, or fill out the form below.
What is Oxycodone?
Oxycodone is an opioid drug and the primary active ingredient in many prescription painkillers, including OxyContin, Roxicodone, Percocet, and Xtampza. In the past, oxycodone was used to help patients cope with chronic pain, but due to improved understanding of the drug’s addictive potential, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) now strongly advises against using oxycodone for long-term management of chronic pain.
Street names for oxycodone, often identified as Oxy, include:4,7
- Hillbilly heroin.
When a person ingests high doses of oxycodone, they may experience an overwhelming sense of euphoria. Coupled with pain-relieving properties, this high can feel extremely comforting to the user, but it may mask other effects that can pose a threat to the user’s life.
What are Opioids?
Opioids are a class of drugs that include many prescription medications for pain relief as well as illicit drugs like heroin. Opioids attach to the opioid receptors in the brain, and when taken, it dulls an individual’s perception of pain; they may also experience pleasurable feelings and even euphoria at higher doses.4 Some prescription opioids, including oxycodone, are also sold illegally as street drugs.4
Is Oxycodone Addictive?
Oxycodone is an opioid drug that is classified as a Schedule II substance, which means it has a high potential for abuse and could potentially lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.4,5
Opioids block pain signals from the brain to the body and release large amounts of dopamine. The release of dopamine can strongly reinforce taking the drug because the individual wants to repeat the experience.6
So, is oxycodone addictive? Yes, the repeated abuse of prescription opioids can lead to an opioid use disorder (OUD), with addiction the most severe form of the OUD.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Oxycodone Addiction?
Opioid addiction, including addiction to oxycodone, is a chronic disease indicated by the compulsive or uncontrollable drug pursuit and use despite any harmful consequences to an individual’s job, relationships, finances, and physical and mental health.6 Those who are struggling with oxycodone addiction may experience various symptoms. Oxycodone side effects may include:8
- Stomach pain.
- Dry mouth.
- Mood changes.
More serious side effects may include:8
- Changes in heartbeat.
- Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, weakness.
- Hallucinations, agitation, fever, severe muscle stiffness, loss of coordination.
- Chest pain.
- Swelling of the face, throat, lips, tongue, hands, feet, lower legs.
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing.
- Extreme drowsiness.
What are the Health Risks of Oxycodone Abuse?
Medications containing oxycodone can have extremely dangerous effects on the user, including:1,4,6
- Very low blood pressure.
- Slowed or stopped heartbeat.
- Slowed or stopped breathing.
- Extreme nausea or vomiting.
- Severe dizziness.
- Overdose, which can result in death.
These side effects can range from uncomfortable to lethal, depending on the dose, method of use, and user’s tolerance level. Methods of ingestion that could potentially speed the onset of effects, like snorting or injecting the drug, may put the user at a higher risk of overdose, though this depends largely on the dose and potency of the product prepared to be misused in this manner.
Opioid overdose is tragically common. The effects that oxycodone has on the central nervous system can turn a feeling of relaxation into a struggle to stay alive. Symptoms of an oxycodone overdose include:1,4,6
- Severe drowsiness.
- Muscle weakness.
- Extreme confusion.
- Shallow or stopped breathing.
- Slow or stopped heart rate.
- Cold or clammy skin.
- Pinpoint pupils.
People who overdose on opioids often experience slowed or stopped breathing. This decreases the amount of oxygen that reaches their brain, potentially resulting in coma, permanent brain damage, or death.6
Take Our “Am I Addicted to Oxycodone?” Self-Assessment
Take our free, 5-minute “Am I Addicted to Oxycodone” self-assessment below if you think you or someone you love might be struggling with oxycodone addiction. The evaluation consists of yes or no questions that are intended to be used as an informational tool to assess the severity and probability of a substance use disorder. Substance use disorders should be diagnosed by professionals using these diagnostic criteria after thorough patient assessment. This self-assessment is free and confidential and may serve as an indicator of a potential addiction but should not replace a diagnosis from a professional treatment provider.
How Do I Get Help for Oxycodone Addiction?
Effective treatment and support exist for opioid addiction and opioid use disorder (OUD). Treatment may be delivered by private rehab, via state or local treatment programs in either an inpatient or outpatient setting, through support groups, or in various other ways.
Addiction treatment may include the following:
- Inpatient treatment typically involves staying in a facility with around-the-clock care and monitoring, group therapy, and individual counseling.
- Outpatient treatment allows the patient to attend group and individual counseling sessions while living at home. This type of care may provide you with the opportunity to attend, school, work, and participate in daily life while working on your recovery.
There are several evidence-based therapies that can be used in any treatment setting:12-14
- Behavioral therapy, which may be delivered individually or in a group, helps you identify your relationship with heroin and other drugs and teaches you strategies to avoid people, places, things, or events that may trigger drug use, such as alternative coping methods to deal with stress.
- Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is the use of one of three FDA-approved medications to treat OUD, methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone. These help manage cravings, prevent withdrawal, and keep people on the road to long-term recovery.
- Integrated treatment of co-occurring disorders. Many people who have SUDs also meet the criteria for another mental health disorder, such as depression or anxiety. The relationship between both disorders is complex and intertwined, with symptoms of SUDs and other mental health conditions often overlapping. Integrating the treatment of both conditions has been found to be consistently superior vs. treating each diagnosis separately.
- Individualized treatment plans. There is no one size fits all plan for addiction treatment, and a successful treatment approach is tailored to the individual’s needs, addressing all areas of a person’s life, such as employment training, housing, or legal issues, that may affect a person’s ability to stay on track with treatment and avoid relapse.
There are also support groups that can help you as you work toward becoming sober and maintaining that sobriety. Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is a mutual help support group that offers people the opportunity to use peer bonds, sponsor relationships, and self-expression to work toward sobriety. There are also non-12-step programs available that offer alternatives to NA.
Where Can I Learn More about Treating Oxycodone Addiction?
For more information about oxycodone abuse and addiction treatment, you may want to reach out to your doctor. Or you can contact one of our admissions navigators at for the information and support you are looking for as you look for oxycodone abuse treatment.
There are various treatment programs and strategies available for oxycodone addiction, so don’t give up if the first program you check out doesn’t meet your individual needs. To learn more about oxycodone addiction treatment, click here.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020). Misuse of Prescription Drugs Research Report: What classes of prescription drugs are commonly misused?
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Understanding Drug Use and Addiction DrugFacts.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2020). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. PEP19-5068, NSDUH Series H-54). Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
- Department of Justice/Drug Enforcement Administration. (2020). Drug Fact Sheet: Oxycodone.
- United States Drug Enforcement Administration. (n.d.). Drug Scheduling.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020). Prescription Opioids DrugFacts.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020). Commonly Used Drug Charts: Oxycodone.
- U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2021). MedlinePlus: Oxycodone.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019). DrugFacts: Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction DrugFacts.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition): Principles of Effective Treatment.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition): Types of Treatment Programs.