Roxicet Addiction

Roxicet addiction and the abuse of prescription painkillers are reaching epidemic proportions in the United States, overshadowing even heroin addiction. In 2010, 1.9 million Americans were addicted to prescription painkillers; by comparison, only 359,000 people were addicted to heroin that year.

More Americans are now seeking help for Roxicet addiction and other forms of substance abuse. Admission rates for opioids other than heroin soared 414 percent in just ten years. In 1997, only seven people in every 100,000 Americans needed treatment for non-heroin opioid abuse; in 2007, about 36 people per 100,000 needed help.

This widespread abuse is due, at least in part, to the availability of prescription opioids including Roxicet. The people in the United States take more opioid pain relievers than anyone else: although Americans constitute roughly 5 percent of global population, they consume 80 percent of the world's supply of opioid drugs.

Information about this drug

Roxicet contains 5 mg of oxycodone and 500 mg of acetaminophen. Roxane Laboratories offers Roxicet in an oral solution to be taken orally.

Physicians prescribe Roxicet to treat moderate to severe pain. Roxicet also calms anxiety, causes relaxation and produces a feeling of euphoria. Recreational users abuse Roxicet to get high.

Oxycodone is a semi-synthetic opioid that works with the central nervous system to change the way the brain perceives pain. Pharmacologists create oxycodone from thebaine, an extract from the poppy plant, Papaver somniferum. Oxycodone is strongly associated with abuse, physical dependence and addiction.

Acetaminophen is a non-narcotic pain reliever that interrupts the production of prostaglandin, a chemical that sends messages of pain to the brain. Acetaminophen is not associated with abuse, dependence or addiction.

Consuming large amounts of Roxicet, using it frequently or for non-medical reasons raises the risk for physical dependence and addiction. A person uses Roxicet non-medically when he consumes it to get high or to treat a condition for which it was not prescribed. In 2010, 7 million people took psychotherapeutic drugs, including Roxicet, for non-medical reasons.

Risk for Abuse

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, or DEA, classifies substances according to their relative risk for abuse. The DEA classifies all drugs containing oxycodone as schedule II narcotics, meaning Roxicet carries the same risk for abuse as raw opium. To reduce this risk, Roxicet is available only by prescription.

The Definition of Addiction

Roxicet addiction is a disease of the brain's reward, motivation and memory circuits. Dysfunction in these areas of the brain leads to characteristic physical, psychological and behavioral changes that include a pathological pursuit of Roxicet.

Someone battling addiction cannot stay away from Roxicet, and will crave Roxicet when he stops using it. He will likely have other behavioral control issues, such as drinking alcohol or engaging in criminal activity. He displays a dysfunctional emotional response, seeming anxious in relatively calm situations or lacking emotions during traumatic events. The addicted individual usually has trouble in his interpersonal relationships.

Roxicet addiction is a primary disease, meaning it arises on its own and not as the result of another illness or event. Like many other neurological disorders, Roxicet addiction is a chronic disease that could last months or years. Roxicet addiction is typically marked with cycles of relapse and remission.

Without proper treatment, Roxicet addiction is a progressive disease that may result in disability or premature death. The neurological, physical and behavioral changes associated with Roxicet addiction allow the disease to become progressively worse. The physical and behavioral manifestations of addiction causes social isolation, separating the addict from family and friends that could best help him recover. Long-term drug use increases the risk for side effects, infectious diseases and toxic overdose.

Addiction versus Dependence

Linked by drug abuse, Roxicet addiction and dependence are two independent medical conditions. A person can be addicted to Roxicet or dependent on it, or both.

Opioid Dependence and Tolerance

The body adapts to the presence of some foreign substances, including Roxicet, by adjusting its chemical balance. Long-term use of Roxicet causes some of these changes to become more permanent - the body learns to rely on having a constant supply of oxycodone to feel "normal." When oxycodone levels fall, the body struggles to maintain chemical balance. Doctors refer to this as the detoxification process.

Detoxification causes withdrawal symptoms. The opioid-dependent feels the battle for chemical stability through withdrawal symptoms. Doctors diagnose a person as being opioid-dependent if the patient feels flu-like symptoms a few hours after his last dose of Roxicet.

Taking Roxicet for a long time may increase tolerance for opioids. An opioid-tolerant person must drink a larger quantity of Roxicet more frequently to achieve the same analgesic or euphoric effect. Someone with low tolerance is more sensitive to the effects of Roxicet; it takes less Roxicet to relieve pain or to get high.


A physician will diagnose a person as being opioid-dependent if the patient suffers withdrawal symptoms; doctors will say the individual is addicted if the patient craves Roxicet and engages in drug-seeking behaviors when he stops taking the drug.

Drug Seeking and Diversion

Because Roxicet is available only by prescription, a person battling oxycodone addiction must constantly seek new supplies of Roxicet. She may engage in "doctor shopping," or visiting multiple physicians to get as many written prescriptions as possible. She may alter these prescriptions to get a larger bottle of Roxicet or present fake prescriptions at the pharmacy.

In a recent national survey, more than half of all people who used a painkiller non-medically within the prior year had gotten the drug free from a friend or family member. Less than five percent reported buying it from a drug dealer. The DEA refers to these activities as "diversion" because of the way they divert medicine from the people who need it for legitimate medical reasons.

Addiction: What Family Members Should Know

It is important that family members recognize Roxicet addiction as a disease and not as an indication of moral character. While the individual initially made bad choices by taking drugs, nobody chooses to be an addict. Counseling can help family members support the addicted individual without blaming him for his condition.

Roxicet addiction is a chronic illness, punctuated with periods of relapse and remission. Family members must make a long-term commitment to supporting the individual during these fluctuations in recovery.

Family members should know their shared risk for developing an addiction sometime in life, and how to reduce those risks that can be controlled. Research shows that about 10 percent of people who try drugs become addicted. A combination of genetics and environmental factors influence the development and manifestation of addiction.


Everyone related to the addicted individual shares an inherited risk for developing an addiction. There is no one "addiction gene" but a specific interaction between certain groups of genes makes someone more vulnerable to developing addiction.

Nobody is born to be an addict - genetics account for about half of a person's vulnerability. Environmental and developmental factors play an important role in the development of addiction. While family members cannot control genetic makeup, they can identify this inherited vulnerability and then take action to reduce controllable risk factors.

Environmental Factors

Family, friends, socioeconomic status and quality of life influence the development of Roxicet addiction. Peer pressure, physical or sexual abuse, stress and poor parenting increases the risk for addiction, especially in those who are genetically vulnerable; many individuals abuse drugs as a form of self-medication when they experience severe stress or peer pressure. Living in an environment that is tolerant of substance abuse raises this risk even more.

People who live in households that tolerate drug use are more prone to abuse drugs. Family members should agree that the house is a drug-free zone. Family members can participate in counseling to learn how to resolve conflicts without resorting to violence. Family members should remain alert for a child suffering peer pressure at school or work, and teach him how to resist pressure to do drugs.


While Roxicet addiction can start at any age, the earlier drug abuse begins, the more likely it will progress to something serious. An adolescent's brain is still developing in the areas that govern his decision-making, judgment and self-control, making a teenager more likely to do drugs when presented with the opportunity. Counseling can help the adolescent learn how to overcome the temptation to do drugs.

Collateral Damage

Family members suffer collateral damage of Roxicet addiction. Drug abuse causes financial hardship for everyone within the home, with the family budget wasted on drugs, medical bills and legal fees. Other collateral damage can include divorce, loss of child custody, criminal activity, homelessness, prison, infectious diseases or loss of a family member due to toxic overdose.

Family members should know that it is illegal to keep Roxicet in the home without a prescription. This illegal activity increases the odds of police raids, imprisonment, or loss of the family home or cars.

It is also unsafe to keep Roxicet in the home where it might be accidently discovered and consumed. Experts estimate that between 2004 and 2005, about 71,000 children went to the emergency department because of medication poisonings other than recreational use; 80 percent of these cases were unsupervised children discovering and consuming medications.

Addiction: What Parents Should Know

Early drug use increases risk for addiction later in life and parents should know that children as young as 12 say they have abused drugs. In a recent national survey, about 3 percent of respondents between the ages of 12 and 17 years said they were currently using a prescription psychotherapeutic drug for non-medical reasons. Psychotherapeutic drugs include opioid analgesics such as Roxicet, depressants and stimulants. This incidence of drug use increases as children grow older: 5.9 percent of 18 to 25 year olds reported using psychotherapeutic drugs the month before.

The risk for drug addiction increases during times of transition, such as moving to a new city, divorce, or going to a new school. Parents can mitigate this risk by helping the child deal with stress in healthy ways, such as taking up new sports or making new friends.

Peer pressure is a strong influence and can lead teenagers and young adults into drug abuse. It is normal for a teenager to want to try new things, including drugs, especially when they see their friends doing it. The teenage brain is still developing, especially the areas of the brain responsible for judgment and decision-making. This may limit a teenager's ability to make a sound decision about drugs.

Drug abuse disrupts brain function in areas critical to motivation, memory, learning, behavior control and judgment. These dysfunctions cause the addicted teenager to have trouble at school or at home, earn poor grades, have health-related problems including mood or mental disorders. Addicted teenagers often have trouble with the juvenile justice system.

Signs of Addiction in a Young Person

While it is normal for children to gain and lose interest in many things as they go through various developmental stages. This natural progress can make it difficult to identify behaviors that might signal addiction. Parents can learn these signs of addiction and remain vigilant, especially during times of transition.

An addicted child shows an unusual loss of interest in things that were once important, like playing with a family pet or engaging in a hobby or associating with childhood friends. Her grades may slip and she may stop playing sports or quit her after-school job. She may seem unmotivated, even for a teenager. She might disappear frequently and have trouble explaining her absence.

Addiction is expensive, especially for a teenager or young adult working at minimum wage or part-time jobs. An addicted child has money issues that seem advanced for her age. Parents should remain aware of items or money missing from the home.

Caring for a Family Member with an Addiction

Caring for a family member who is addicted to Roxicet requires dedication and persistence. Recovery often begins when family members intervene. Some families hold a formal intervention to show the addicted individual that the entire family is uniformly committed to recovery.

Any family member can propose the idea of an intervention. The first step is to form a planning group. This group will learn about Roxicet addiction, gather information about treatment centers and plan the intervention.

The planning group could ask for help from an intervention specialist, especially if the addicted person has a history of violence, serious mental illness, suicidal thoughts or behavior, using multiple mood-altering substances or is in severe denial. It is important to request the guidance of a professional interventionist if there is a chance the individual will react in a violent or self-destructive way. An intervention is an emotionally charged situation that can end in anger and resentment if handled poorly.

The planning group will gather information about Roxicet addiction and look into local treatment centers. Group members can investigate insurance coverage and arrange to enroll the loved one in a specific treatment program to begin immediately after the intervention.

The planning group will form an intervention team and pick a specific location, date and time for the intervention. It is imperative the addicted person not know about the intervention ahead of time. The planning group should choose four to six people that the addicted person likes and respects. Avoid choosing people the addicted person mistrusts or those who are likely to sabotage the intervention.

Each person on the intervention team must decide on the action he would take if the addicted person does not accept treatment. For example, a team member might ask the addicted individual to move out of the house or stay away from the children.

Every member of the intervention team should write down what she wants to say before the intervention. She should mention specific incidences of when the individual's drug abuse has caused problems for her. She should detail the toll the addicted person's behaviors have had on her life while still expressing love and hopes for recovery.

Without revealing the reason, someone on the intervention team invites or brings the addicted person to the intervention site. Every member of the intervention team expresses her concerns and feelings. The intervention team then presents the addicted person with the pre-determined treatment option and asks that he accept that option on the spot. Each person then reports what changes she will make if the addicted person does not accept treatment.

Long-term Care

The planning group and intervention team members should follow up continuously to ensure the addicted individual is participating in treatment. Family members and intervention teammates should expect cycles of remission and relapse. Relapse does not mean treatment efforts have failed. If the addicted person suffers a relapse, each intervention member should enact her pre-determined consequence to pressure the addicted individual to return to treatment.

When the addicted individual accepts treatment, the family must work together to enable recovery. Family members can drive the individual to appointments, take over household tasks or help with childcare while the addicted individual participates in detoxification and rehabilitation.

Treatment can halt the progression of Roxicet addiction at any time - it is not necessary to let someone hit rock bottom before intervening. At rock bottom, the addicted person will find social isolation, homelessness, prison, infectious diseases and death. Hitting rock bottom increases collateral damage and puts recovery further out of reach, but recovery is always possible.

Counseling helps family members learn how to support an addicted person without enabling his disease. It is a common to want to shield a loved one from the ravages of his disease, but recovery from addiction often starts when the addicted person recognizes the consequences of his drug abuse.

Signs of Addiction

Addiction causes neurological dysfunctions that result in characteristic behavioral changes. These changes in behavior often cause the addict to be socially isolated, separated from friends and family members who could best recognize the differences in the addict's behaviors. Doctors look for these characteristic changes in behavior when diagnosing a patient with Roxicet addiction.

Behavioral, Cognitive and Emotional Changes

The neurological changes associated with Roxicet addiction modify the way the person behaves, thinks and feels. These changes serve to cause the progression of addiction and interfere with intervention efforts. In other words, addiction causes a person's behavior, thoughts and emotions in a way that allows addiction to grow worse. Left untreated, Roxicet addiction is self-perpetuating.


The addicted person uses Roxicet excessively, often more frequently and in greater quantities that he intended. Even as he takes more Roxicet, he may have a persistent desire to stop using Roxicet; he may have even tried to quit several times but seem ultimately unwilling or unable to stop.

He loses a great deal of time looking for Roxicet, getting high or recovering from drug abuse. He loses interest in doing things that used to be important, like going to work or taking care of his family. Soon he does not want to participate in anything that does not result in getting high. This has a significantly negative effect on his professional and personal life.


The addicted individual grows preoccupied with Roxicet, to the point where he thinks of little else. He holds a warped view of the relative benefits and risks associated with Roxicet so that he sees only the positive attributes of this drug and none of the negative. He begins to believe other people or events have caused the problems in his life instead of recognizing his difficulties are the predictable consequence of drug abuse.


Doctors prescribe Roxicet to relieve pain and sometimes to calm anxiety. Some people use Roxicet to self-medicate against stress or because of the euphoric feeling oxycodone provides. Roxicet addiction, however, can have the opposite effect and can actually increase anxiety and emotional pain. Roxicet addiction recruits the brain's stress system in a way that makes things seem more stressful for the addict. Roxicet addiction can also cause the emotional opposite of euphoria, dysphoria.
Roxicet addiction may cause the individual to have difficulty identifying his feelings or describing them to other people. He may have trouble distinguishing emotions from bodily sensation.

Gender Differences

While anyone can become addicted to Roxicet, there does seem to be gender differences when it comes to drug abuse and addiction. Men are twice as likely to abuse illegal substances such as heroin, cocaine or marijuana. Men are also more likely to become addicted to drugs. Many more men than women die from prescription painkiller overdose each year.

Women are more apt to use prescription drugs for non-medical reasons. Women addicts are also less likely to seek treatment. Women are also more likely to seek help from a mental health facility or general hospital rather than a specialty facility; this contributes to poor treatment outcomes. Women also have lower treatment completion rates than men.

Treatment Options

Treatment can help the addicted person quit Roxicet, avoid relapse and recover his life. When left untreated or poorly treated, Roxicet addiction can cause disability or premature death. In 2010, approximately 17.9 million Americans needed treatment but only about 2.6 million received it.

There are two types of treatment: detoxification and rehabilitation. Detoxification is the physiological process of lowering oxycodone levels. Rehabilitation focuses on the behavioral aspects of Roxicet addiction.


A person initiates the detoxification process by skipping a dose, taking an inadequate dose or using a drug that lowers opioid levels. Detoxification will cause withdrawal symptoms that can last five or more days.

Without intervention, withdrawal symptoms eventually go away. A person can make withdrawal symptoms go away sooner by taking a drug that mimics oxycodone or by taking more Roxicet.


Many addicted individuals try to quit Roxicet alone, without medicine to ease withdrawal symptoms or the guidance of detoxification professionals. Doctors call this self-detoxification but it is commonly known as "going cold turkey." Cold turkey refers to the skin's appearance during detoxification: pale, cold, clammy with goose bumps, resembling a plucked turkey.

Self-detoxification is a long and grueling process. Many who try self-detoxification return to Roxicet abuse just to stop the uncomfortable and unrelenting withdrawal symptoms.

The Thomas Recipe

Some people reduce withdrawal symptoms by using a treatment plan that includes multiple anti-withdrawal medications. One such remedy is The Thomas Recipe, which includes a benzodiazepine such as Valium, Librium, Ativan or Xanax to ease anxiety and promote sleep. The individual takes Imodium for diarrhea and L-Tyrosine for a burst of energy. Vitamin B6 and supplements along with hot baths soothe muscle aches and calms restless leg syndrome.

The Thomas Recipe eases symptoms but it does not shorten the duration of the detoxification process nor does it reduce the risk for complications.


While the detoxification process is not normally life threatening, withdrawal symptoms can cause dangerous complications. Aspiration is a complication where the individual vomits, then inhales the stomach contents. Aspiration can result in fluid in the lungs and lung infections. Extreme vomiting, diarrhea and perspiration can lead to dehydration.

The primary complication associated with detoxification is relapse to Roxicet use, which can lead to toxic overdose in some cases. The detoxification process lowers the body's tolerance to Roxicet. As the result, it is possible for a person to overdose on a smaller amount of Roxicet than he used to take before experiencing even moderate withdrawal symptoms.


In 2008, 15,000 people died from overdose of prescription painkillers, including Roxicet. Oxycodone overdose causes dangerous breathing problems, including respiratory depression. Symptoms of respiratory depression include slow or shallow breathing, irregular breathing problems and a blue tint around the eyes, mouth and fingertips.

Overdose victims need emergency medical treatment. Transport the victim to the nearest hospital immediately; bring the bottle of Roxicet to help doctors determine how much the victim consumed.

Emergency department doctors will administer 0.4 mg to 2 mg of naloxone to reduce oxycodone to safe levels. Nurses will establish an airway to help the patient breathe. They will also pump the patient's stomach or introduce charcoal to absorb and remove excess Roxicet.

Drug Replacement Therapy

Individuals who are not in immediate danger of overdose may choose DRT, or drug replacement therapy. DRT medications mimic oxycodone but do not produce euphoria, so the patient does not feel withdrawal symptoms but he does not get high either. Examples of DRT medications include methadone, Suboxone and buprenorphine.

DRT allows the patient to participate in behavior modification to learn how to live without drugs before she detoxifies her body. Once she has the skills to live drug-free, she weans herself from the DRT medication by taking successively smaller doses further apart.

DRT supporters say this therapy helps people lead normal lives while engaging in meaningful therapy. Opponents fear it is merely trading one addiction for another.

Standard Detoxification

Many institutions now offer detoxification services. During standard detoxification, doctors administer naloxone along with medications to ease withdrawal symptoms. Nurses monitor the patient for complications. Standard detoxification reduces the severity of withdrawal symptoms but the patient must still struggle with the demoralizing psychological aspects of the detoxification process that can make the individual feel unworthy or incapable of recovery.

Rapid Detox

Rapid detox is the most humane detoxification procedure available today. During rapid detox, board-certified anesthesiologists administer detoxification and anti-withdrawal drugs along with anesthesia and sedatives. The patient rests in a comfortable "twilight sleep" during the detoxification process. Rapid detox shortens the detoxification process to a few hours rather than a few days, putting the individual in a better state of mind for meaningful rehabilitation.


The detoxification process is only the first step towards recovery. Detoxification alone does little to change the behaviors associated with Roxicet addiction. Behavioral rehabilitation helps the individual participate in the treatment process, modify behaviors and change his attitudes towards drug abuse.

Rehabilitation can take place at an outpatient clinic or residential facility. Participants in outpatient therapy typically visit a facility on a regular basis and engage in behavior modification and individual or group counseling. Residential programs are highly structured, lasting 6 to 12 months. Most treatment programs agree on a set of principles of effective treatment.

Addiction is a complex but treatable disease that affects a person's brain function in a way that changes behavior. Roxicet addiction affects each person in a little different way so no single treatment will be appropriate for everyone.

An effective treatment program attends to the multiple needs of the addicted individual and not just focus on her drug abuse. Most treatment plans include behavior modification along with individual, family and group counseling. Medications are an important part of many treatment plans, as it is common for an addicted person to have co-existing physical, mental or mood disorders that can interfere with treatment.

No matter which form of treatment the individual chooses, it must be convenient and readily available to encourage participation and completion. It is vital to participate in treatment long enough to restore neurological function and behavioral patterns.

The rehabilitation counselor will assess the patient's condition and develop an appropriate treatment plan. The counselor will monitor the patient's progress and modify the treatment plan as necessary to make sure it continues to fit the changing needs of the individual.

The counselor will likely require drug testing as relapses do occur during treatment. Testing for infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and hepatitis B and C may be required. The counselor may provide educational material to help the addicted individual change behaviors that increase the patient's risk for contracting or spreading these diseases.

Treatment does not need to be voluntary to be effective. Patients under legal duress are more compliant than those who do not face penalties for relapses.