Did OxyContin Start the Opioid Addiction Epidemic?

America is currently facing an opioid epidemic – one that has been greatly affecting men and women of all ages and in every demographic for the past two decades, give or take. There are many theories as to why the opioid epidemic first began in circulation. Some believe that rates of addiction are higher simply because times are harder and young men and women – between the ages of 18 and 25, specifically – have a more difficult time getting established.

They are in heaps and heaps of student debt when they finally do graduate, they have a difficult time nailing down a career (in many cases) and they are not able to afford the down payment on a house until they are well into their 30s. Some believe that the opioid epidemic stems from an increase of heroin in circulation throughout the United States.

Instant Release OxyContin Was Known as Hillbilly Heroin

The truth is that the opioid addiction epidemic stemmed from an increase in the prescription of painkillers like OxyContin, which was then an instant release formula in high doses up to 80mg in a single pill. It became known as “Hillbilly Heroin” because the effects were similar to heroin, but you could get it from a doctor. In the mid-1990s pharmaceutical companies developed potent opioid narcotic painkillers like oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, and morphine. These pharmaceutical companies marketed prescription painkillers as a safe and effective way to reduce pain.

Medical Doctors Pushed OxyContin as Safe and Effective

They promised medical professionals that there were very few side effects and that the risk of developing a physical dependence was relatively slim. Because of these promises, medical professionals began prescribing these medications at every chance they got (at least it seemed), and soon men and women across the country were popping highly potent painkillers like candy. Unfortunately, not only were medications like OxyContin highly addictive, but they quickly resulted in a range of other serious health-related consequences.

Did OxyContin Start the Opioid Addiction Epidemic?

The Truth About OxyContin and the Opioid Addiction Epidemic 

If you have been wondering whether or not prescription medications like OxyContin helped to begin and facilitate the opioid addiction epidemic, the truth is that drugs like OxyContin did play a very big role in the development of this national issue. The majority of men and women who began using this prescription medication developed some degree of physical and psychological dependency, and when the government cracked down on distribution rather than seeking professional help these individuals sought a cheaper and more accessible alternative, which was heroin. This drug has completely ravaged the country and has quickly become the most notorious illicit opioid narcotic.

OxyContin Created an Opioid Rush in America, but Opioid Addiction Existed Long Before OxyContin

When asking the question, “Did OxyContin start the opioid addiction epidemic,” it is important to consider the fact that it was not OxyContin alone, but a combination of all potent prescription painkillers. Opioid painkillers are still responsible for a great amount of opioid-related overdose deaths that occur throughout the country on an annual basis. If someone you know and love has been abusing oxycontin or any other prescription painkiller, it is important to seek professional help sooner rather than later. Do not wait until the disease of addiction progresses, and the individual begins abusing heroin or another illicit drug – as soon as you notice an opioid abuse disorder beginning to develop, reach out to a treatment center like Recreate Life Counseling at your earliest possible convenience.

Recreate Life Counseling and Opioid Addiction Recovery 

At Recreate Life Counseling we have extensive experience treating men and women of all ages who have been suffering from prescription painkiller addiction or any other type of opioid addiction. When it comes to addiction recovery, the important thing is not necessarily how the nationwide opioid epidemic came to be, but how each individual can recover thoroughly and long-term.

At Recreate Life Counseling we combine intensive therapy with medication-assisted treatment. We utilize medications like naltrexone and buprenorphine to prevent opioid relapse while treating addiction at its core. To learn more about our integrated program of opioid addiction recovery, or to learn more about how the opioid addiction epidemic truly began, please feel free to reach out to us at any point in time.