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Falling In Love: A Toxic Relationship with Oxy

We know love can be all consuming, even if we ourselves have never experienced it before. Portrayals of love are all around us – books, movies, social media, our own personal relationships. The thing with love is… it can take the floor we stand on and rip it right out from beneath us; we don’t even see it coming. I imagine that is what happened to you, little brother, after your first taste of Oxy.

See, we know addiction is a disease, a disease that has the potential to make your mind, body and soul fall in love. A false sense of love that is. An impersonator of love, if you will.

By your senior year of high school, you were already partying. A few drinks here and there, splurging in marijuana use… not much different from your teenage peers, out and about, having fun. Then you danced with something more dangerous.

Oxy: Your New Love Affair

There was no way to know that this would activate your addictive behavior. You were so young; you didn’t even recognize what addictive behaviors were. The day you and Roxicodone collided – the day you had a taste – would be the beginning of the most toxic relationship of your life. Those blues you loved so much would become relentless toward you. Euphoric, dependable, calming, soothing like a blanket… yet merciless and wrathful. That was your new love affair.

It was not long after you were introduced to oxy that we had a dentist appointment to get our wisdom teeth removed. We were both prescribed prescription pain pills, and there is no doubt the procedure and healing process was painful – much more painful than either one of us anticipated it to be.

However, I could not believe the voracious appetite you had for your pain pills. You were going through them so fast – going back numerous times for more and twice as fast then I was using them – and I had complications with my own procedure. You had multiple refills on your prescription of pain pills, while, at that point, I was already using over-the-counter pain relievers with no issues.

You were in love, engulfed with euphoria, and you had no idea all that was about to be taken from you. From that time on, you would experience the full throes of addiction… the constant chase for a high. Our family would be forever changed by this title wave that swept you up and, for years to come, you would be in a constant battle.

“Let us never forget… It is the disease with which we do battle. Not the addicts consumed by the disease – and not the people who love them. Let us be one strong voice against addiction, together.”  – Sandy Swenson, Author of The Joey Song)

­- An Addict’s Sister

What is Oxy?

Oxy is short for Oxycodone. It is a prescription medication used to relieve pain too severe for over-the-counter pain relievers. Prescription opioids block pain signals between the brain and the body. John Hopkins Medicine defines opioids as a “class of drugs naturally found in the opium poppy plant and that work in the brain to produce a variety of effects.”

Common Prescription Opioids include:

  • Actiq (fentanyl)
  • Antituss (codeine)
  • Arymo ER (morphine)
  • Buprenorphine (generic)
  • Codeine (generic)
  • Combunox (ibuprofen/oxycodone)
  • Cocet (acetaminophen and codeine)
  • Dermerol (merperidine)
  • Dilaudid (hydromorphone)
  • Dolophine (methadone)
  • Duragesic (fentanyl)
  • Duramorph (morphine)
  • Endodan (aspirn/oxycodone)
  • Exalgo (hydromorphone)
  • Fentanyl (generic)
  • Hydrocodone (generic)
  • Hydromorphone (generic)
  • Infumorph (morphine)
  • Kadian (morphine)
  • Lorcet (hydrocodone)

  • Lortab (hydrocodone)
  • Methadone (generic)
  • Methadose (methadone)
  • Meperidine (generic)
  • Morphine (generic)
  • MS Contin (morphine)
  • Morphine Sulfate
  • Nalex (codeine)
  • Pedituss (codeine)
  • Oxyado (oxycodone)
  • Opana (oxymorphone)
  • Oxycodone (generic)
  • OxyContin (oxycodone)
  • Oxymorphone Hydrochloride
  • Percocet (oxycodone-acetaminophen)
  • Percodan (oxycodone-aspirin)
  • Phenaphen with Codeine (acetaminophen and codeine)
  • Robitussin (codeine)
  • RMS (morphine)
  • Roxanol (morphine)
  • Roxicodone (oxycodone)
  • Roxiprin (aspirin/oxycodone)
  • Sublimaze (fentanyl)
  • Suboxone (buprenorphine)
  • Targiniq ER (naloxone/oxycodone)
  • Tramadol (generic)
  • Troxyca ER (naltrexone/oxycodone)
  • Tylenol with Codeine (acetaminophen and codeine)
  • Ultram (tramadol)
  • Vicodin (hydrocodone)
  • Vicoprofen (hydrocodone)
  • Xtampza ER (oxycodone)
(Hopkins Medicine)

Common Street Names for Opioids include:

  • Amidone (methadone)
  • Apache (fentanyl)
  • Blue Dynamite (oxycodone)
  • Blue Heaven (oxymorphone)
  • Blues (oxycodone)
  • Cody (codeine)
  • Captain Cody (codeine)
  • China Girl (fentanyl)
  • China White (fentanyl)
  • Cotton (oxycodone)
  • D (hydromorphone)
  • Dance Fever (fentanyl)
  • Demmies (Demerol)
  • Dillies (hydromorphone)
  • Doors and Fours (codeine)
  • Emma (morphine)
  • Fizzies (methadone)
  • Footballs (hydromorphone)
  • Friend (fentanyl)
  • Hillbilly Heroin (oxycodone)
  • Hydro/Hydros (hydrocodone)
  • Jackpot (fentanyl)
  • Kickers (oxycodone)
  • Killers (oxycodone)
  • Lean (codeine)
  • M (morphine)
  • Monkey (morphine)
  • Murder 8 (fentanyl)
  • Narco (hydrocodone)
  • Norco (Vicodin/hydrocodone)
  • O (oxymorphone)
  • O bomb (oxymorphone)
  • OC (oxycodone)
  • Ox (oxycodone)
  • Oxy (oxycodone)
  • Oxycotton (oxycodone)
  • Pancakes and Syrup (codeine)
  • Perc (Percocet/oxycodone)
  • Purple drank (codeine)
  • Roxi (oxycodone)
  • Roxy (oxycodone)
  • Schoolboy (codeine)
  • Sizzurp (codeine)
  • Vickies (Vicodin/hydrocodone)
  • Vikes (Vicodin/hydrocodone)
  • Wafter (methadone)
  • Watson-387 (hydrocodone)

How Opioids Act on the Central Nervous System

3d,Rendered,Medically,Accurate,Illustration,Of,The,Human,Nerves, oxyOxycodone is an opioid that interacts with the central nervous system (CNS). Acting as an information superhighway, the CNS carrying signals both to and from the brain to your body.

Your brain also makes opioids, called endorphins. They are released by various activities, including exercise. Whether you are taking a prescription opioid or the brain releases a burst of endorphins, they interact with opiate receptors which are located on your nerve cells. Opioids act differently than other neurotransmitters in the body, however.

A study published in scientific journal Neuron found that synthetic opioids activated internal parts of the cell that natural opioids do not. This could be why users obtain a high like no other – it’s affecting a part of the cell that nothing else can.

While natural opioids bind to receptors and enter receptors called endosomes, synthetic opioids activate receptors in another location within the cell called the Golgi apparatus. Natural opioids do not affect the Golgi apparatus. (Bai & Smith, 2022)

Not only that, they do so quickly. Synthetic opioids activate the Golgi apparatus (located inside the cells) in just 20 seconds – three times faster than natural opioids affect endosomes. This speed can lead to addiction, as the faster the user feels the effects the more potentially addictive a substance is.

Opioid drugs can infiltrate a part of the brain stem, causing constipation, lowering your level of alertness, and even slow your breathing. In fact, your respiration can slow to a point where fatal overdoses occur.

When Does Oxy Addiction Begin?

White,Pills,Spilling,Out,Of,An,Orange,Prescription,Bottle,On a slate grey surface, oxy

Addiction to opioids happens once neurons have adapted to the level opioids in the body. Thomas Kosten, Director of Baylor College of Medicine Divisions of Alcohol and Addiction Psychiatry, describes it as a swinging pendulum.

On one side of the pendulum, opioids cause euphoria, calmness, numbness – but also constipation. On the other end are diarrhea and high blood pressure. Where happiness was once triggered, the user is met with uneasiness, dissatisfaction, and anxiety – all withdrawal symptoms.

This is where the danger and risk for dependency and abuse enter. Instead of chasing a high, the user is driven to use again to drive those symptoms away.

The brain’s pre-frontal cortex is now activated as well. It is aware that this feels good – taking this drug feels good – and sends messages or cravings that fuel the desire to use more and sets up a habit. As a result, the need for more opioids to feel better becomes more fiercely relevant.

To fight addiction, you are fighting your own brain. This is why often, outside help is required to overcome it. Unfortunately, opioids are a deadly cocktail that are still being served.

RELATED: A Glimpse Out My Window: An Addict’s Sister Shares Her Story
The Distance Between Us: The Changing Roles Within a Family of Addiction
Why are Overdoses on the Rise in America?

WORKS CITED

Bai, N., & Smith, D. (2022, May 10). Body’s ‘natural opioids’ affect brain cells much differently than morphine. Body’s ‘Natural Opioids’ Affect Brain Cells Much Differently than Morphine | UC San Francisco. Retrieved May 2, 2022, from University of California San Francisco

Butanis, Benjamin. “What Are Opioids?” www.hopkinsmedicine.org, Retrieved May 2, 2022, from Hopkins Medicine

“Structure and Function of the Central Nervous System.” Retrieved May 2, 2022, from Verywell Mind

Akpan, Nsikan, and Julia Griffin. “How a Brain Gets Hooked on Opioids.” PBS NewsHour, 9 Oct. 2017, Retrieved May 2, 2022, from PBS

 

Justin Baksh, LMHC, MCAP, Chief Clinical Officer

Chief Clinical Officer
Foundations Wellness Center

Meet author Justin Baksh, LMHC, MCAP, the Chief Clinical Officer of Foundations Wellness Center. A former United States Marine, Justin holds a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling and has also attained the Certified Master’s Level Addiction Professional credential.

Justin has over 10 years of experience working with substance use and polysubstance use disorders, as well as anxiety, depression, life stressors, life transitions, trauma, PTSD, ADHD, ADD, OCD, and a variety of other disorders using cognitive behavioral therapy, DBT, biofeedback, strength-based and solution-based modalities. Read Full Bio

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