Oxycodone hydrochloride is a potent narcotic, opioid (morphine-like) medication. It has significant potential for both physical and psychological abuse and addiction.
As with other narcotics, the body becomes physically dependent upon oxycodone. However, physical dependence is not necessarily a sign of oxycodone abuse or addiction; it is a predictable, physical response to long-term use of the narcotic. The body becomes accustomed to physical changes that oxycodone causes, and stopping the drug will lead to withdrawal symptoms.
It can be difficult for healthcare providers (or even friends or family) to tell if a person has a problem with addiction to oxycodone, or if the true problem is actually inadequate pain control. Some possible signs of abusing oxycodone include:
- Going through an oxycodone prescription too quickly.
- "Doctor shopping," which is seeing several different healthcare providers to obtain numerous oxycodone prescriptions or switching from one provider to another.
- Repeated reports of losing a prescription, having a prescription stolen, or needing a prescription early to go on vacation.
(Click Oxycodone Addiction for more information on the potential dangers of abusing oxycodone. This article also describes the difference between abuse and a physical dependence on oxycodone and explains how to get help.)