Two Dangerous Painkillers—Which Is Worse Oxycodone Vs Oxycontin?

What really is the difference between Oxycodone and OxyContin?

bottles of oxycodone pills

Oxycodone may be thought of as the lesser of the two evils because it is often combined with other medications. It is still an opiate but may be combined with ibuprofen or Tylenol in some formulations. A number of prescription pain relievers including Percocet, Percodan, Tylox and OxyContin all contain oxycodone. However, oxycodone is the only ingredient in the stronger version of the drug: OxyContin.

In the pharmaceutical world, “oxycodone” can be considered a generic name for OxyContin, as oxycodone is the active ingredient in the product. However, oxycodone is also the active ingredient in many other medications, so it is probably better to use a term such as “oxycodone extended release” to describe the generic versions of OxyContin.

The Varying Effects Of The Two Medications

prescription drug with oxycodone

The effects of medications that are combined with oxycodone are released immediately after taking the pill. Relief from pain may last for about 4 to 6 hours. OxyContin has stronger effects because it contains a pure concentration of oxycodone and the formulation makes the drug intensely strong and highly addictive. This is a brand named pharmaceutical designed to be time-released and remains effective for about 12 hours.

However, those who are abusing OxyContin will often tamper with or remove the time release, getting a very strong amount of the medication right away.

People who abuse the drug crush the tablet and swallow or snort it, or dilute it in water and inject it. This destroys the time-release mechanism so that the user gets the full effects of the narcotic. Users compare the high to the euphoria of heroin. Smoking OxyContin has also become a common problem in some areas of the country. OxyContin is arguably the most abused opioid in the US. It is a drug of choice for many prescription opioid addicts. But OxyContin side effects can be severe.

Those who are addicted to prescription drugs usually prefer OxyContin because of the strong dosage, as compared to oxycodone. Although both are prescription drugs, many people can find these sold on the streets. And one of the easiest ways users get both versions of the drug is from friends or family members’ medicine cabinets.

OxyContin Information & Dangers

What makes OxyContin dangerous is not only that it’s addictive, it can also be lethal. It makes you feel you can tolerate more, but it can precipitate respiratory failure, especially when used with other drugs like alcohol.
Street names for OxyContin include:
• OC
• Kicker
• OxyCotton
• Hillbilly Heroin.

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), oxycodone has been abused for more than 30 years. But with the introduction of OxyContin in 1996, there has been a marked escalation of abuse.

Handling A Prescription Addiction Problem

Narconon rehab centers have many tips to help someone overcome a prescription abuse problem as these drugs are extremely addictive. The National Institute of Health said 3 to 5 percent of people who take pain medication eventually become addicted. They key would be to stay away from these medications if at all possible. If you have to use these prescriptions, be sure to seek help as soon as you think you may have a problem.

Narconon rehab centers also suggest that if you know someone who is struggling with this type of addiction, get them immediate help. One-third of people aged 12 or older who used drugs for the first time used a prescription drug for a non-medical purpose. According to the Center for Disease Control & Prevention, in 2011, more people died due to overdosing on legal pain medications than on illegal drugs.


Sue Birkenshaw

Sue has worked in the addiction field with the Narconon network for three decades. She has developed and administered drug prevention programs worldwide and worked with numerous drug rehabilitation centers over the years. Sue is also a fine artist and painter, who enjoys traveling the world which continues to provide unlimited inspiration for her work. You can follow Sue on Twitter, or connect with her on LinkedIn.