Wide use of the narcotic pain reliever, OxyContin, began with the manufacturer, Purdue Pharma, selling the substance in the United States in 1996. Since then, the prescription drug has gained a bad reputation for its high likelihood of abuse.

In fact, the state of Alabama even sued Purdue Pharma earlier this year over the OxyContin producer’s failure to accurately portray risks associated with the drug.

Prevalence of OxyContin in Alabama

OxyContin is one of the most widely abused prescription drugs in history and it’s also deadly. In Alabama, there were 343 opioid-related overdose deaths in 2016 — 124 of which were related to prescription opioids, like OxyContin.

The attorney general’s office reported that a minimum of 30,000 Alabama adults depend on prescription painkillers or heroin.

Risks of OxyContin dependency

OxyContin is an oxycodone formula that is meant to relieve intense pain from injuries, arthritis and cancer. Abuse of OxyContin happens when the tablet is crushed, snorted or diluted and injected. This causes the effects of the drugs to occur all at once, instead of a little bit at a time.

The drug is highly addictive and abusing it in this way can easily result in an overdose.

Withdrawal symptoms of a person addicted to OxyContin can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Muscle weakness
  • Fever

Penalties

If you have a valid prescription for oxycodone or OxyContin, you are not breaking the law.

However, OxyContin is often bought and sold on the black market using the street names, OC, Kicker, Killers, Hillbilly Heroin and OxyCotton.

Illegally possessing OxyContin or another form of oxycodone can result in Class C felony charges, punishable by one to ten years imprisonment and a fine up to $15,000 for the first offense. However, depending on the amount of the drug you are in possession of, you may be issued with trafficking charges, punishable by at least three years of imprisonment.

Depending on the circumstances, such as the amount of the drug and whether there was intent to sell it, penalties may be heightened all the way up to life imprisonment.

Treatment and drug court

Because OxyContin can be extremely addictive, you may be able to substitute penalties you would face for treatment through drug court. If you are facing drug charges, seek the guidance of a criminal law attorney to learn more about what type of defense you may be able to bring. A lawyer will advise you of all of your rights and help you fight for the best outcome to your case.