OXYCONTIN is the brand name of an analgesic containing the active ingredient oxycodone (also found in Percocet and Percodan).
OxyContin is a legal narcotic drug that is available by prescription to treat severe pain. In pill form it is a controlled-release medication. When the drug is abused, it is crushed and snorted, chewed or mixed with water and injected — eliminating the time-release factor and allowing for a quick and intense rush to the brain. Common side effects include: constipation; nausea; sedation; dizziness; vomiting; headache; dry mouth; sweating and weakness.
Using OxyContin chronically can result in increased tolerance to the drug in which higher doses must be taken to receive the initial effect. Over time, the drug becomes physically addictive, causing a person to experience withdrawal symptoms when the drug is not present. Symptoms of withdrawal include: restlessness; muscle and bone pain; insomnia; diarrhoea; vomiting; cold flashes and involuntary leg movements.
What is the drug “ecstasy” and how dangerous is it?
Ecstasy is a synthetic drug made in a laboratory. Other chemicals are often added to or substituted for ecstasy. Makers can add anything they want to the drug, such as caffeine, amphetamines and even cocaine. Ecstasy is illegal and has effects similar to hallucinogens and stimulants. It is addictive. It is usually taken by mouth as a pill, tablet or capsule. These pills have different colours and sometimes have cartoon-like images on them. Mixing ecstasy with alcohol is extremely dangerous. It can be lethal.
The stimulative effects of drugs like ecstasy that allow the user to dance for long periods of time can, when combined with the hot, crowded conditions usually found at raves, lead to extreme dehydration and even heart or kidney failure. Some of ecstasy’s side effects, such as confusion, depression, anxiety, paranoia and sleep problems, have been reported to occur weeks after the drug is taken. Physical effects can include: muscle tension; nausea; blurred vision; faintness; involuntary teeth clenching and chills or sweating. Prolonged use of ecstasy causes long-lasting and perhaps permanent damage to the brain, thus affecting the person’s ability to think and use judgment. Researchers are continuing to examine the effects of chronic use of the drug on memory and other functions, such as mood and sleep cycles. A few young people have died after using ecstasy only one time.
What about prescription drugs or over-the counter drugs?
Aren’t these drugs okay to take? Sometimes a person is required to take a drug for a known medical condition. If this is the case, it is very important to know what you are taking, know what the side effects of the drug are, and that the instructions for taking that drug are followed. This includes knowing when to stop, and how not to mix it with other drugs. Virtually any drug can be toxic; a person should know everything about the drug before putting it into his or her body.
λ Mthandazo Ndlovu is a drug prevention and rehabilitation specialist. For more information and help contact 00263772399734 or email [email protected]