Signs of Oxycodone Abuse

Oxycodone is a prescription painkiller used to treat moderate to severe pain. However, it also holds a high risk of abuse and can be a gateway to heroin abuse.

Oxycodone can be dangerous when abused, especially when mixed with other substances. Alcohol and benzodiazepines are especially dangerous when combined since they also depress the central nervous system. A combination of them can slow breathing and heart rate and even cause death.

Knowing the signs and symptoms of abuse can be very important for seeking help. It is better to seek professional treatment as soon as possible, as quitting can become harder with time. However, it is never too late.

What is Oxycodone?

Oxycodone, prescribed under the brand names OxyContin and Roxicodone, is a semi-synthetic opioid drug. It is made by modifying Thebaine, an organic chemical that is found in opium poppies. Street names for oxycodone include Oxy, hillbilly heroin, and blue.

When used as prescribed oxycodone is generally safe and helps with post-op and cancer pain relief. However, like other prescription opioids, oxycodone has a high risk for abuse and addiction when not used as prescribed. This is why it is classed as a Schedule II controlled substance.

This risk comes from the positive feelings which oxycodone causes, making you seek it out to reproduce the high. It causes strong psychoactive effects and euphoric feelings, reduces anxiety, and increases confidence.

Oxycodone Addiction

Abusing oxycodone can lead to addiction. Abuse of a drug is when you take more than you are prescribed. If you start to use a higher dose of oxycodone or take it more frequently than prescribed, this is oxycodone abuse.

In 2016, the United States Department of Justice reported that more than 13m Americans abuse oxycodone every year, which results in 500,000 emergency room visits per year.

Abuse can quickly lead to addiction with potent drugs such as oxycodone. Addiction occurs once you develop dependence and the drug starts to affect your personal life and behavior as you prioritize seeking and taking it above other activities and responsibilities.

Risk Factors for Drug Abuse

There are risk factors for developing any substance use disorder; these include both genetic and environmental factors.

Risk Factors Include

  • family history of addiction
  • previous personal history of substance abuse
  • drug use by people in your environment
  • mental health illnesses including severe depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder
  • criminal or risk-taking behavior
  • childhood neglect or trauma

Substance abuse can be a way of self-medication. It is therefore important to understand how oxycodone can affect you and what you can do to find support.

Side-Effects of Oxycodone Use

Like all prescription painkillers, the normal use of oxycodone has side effects. It is necessary to understand these to distinguish between prescribed use and abuse of oxycodone.

Side-Effects Include

  • constipation
  • nausea and vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • stomach problems
  • itchiness
  • headaches
  • tiredness
  • dizziness and vertigo
  • confusion

In rare cases, you might also have serious side effects such as muscle stiffness and hypotension. If these occur, you should contact a doctor.

Oxycodone Addiction Signs

Oxycodone addiction will result in more symptoms than those expected when taking oxycodone as prescribed. These symptoms can be physical, psychological, and behavioral.

Understanding these additional signs and symptoms might help you to recognize if you or a loved one has an oxycodone abuse problem.

Physical Symptoms

  • respiratory depression
  • low blood pressure
  • poor coordination
  • psychomotor agitation

With long-term use, you might also experience swelling of limbs, increased pressure of spinal fluid, and even coma.

Psychological and Cognitive Symptoms

  • hallucinations
  • abnormal thoughts
  • memory problems
  • impaired judgment
  • outbursts of violence or anger
  • anxiety and paranoia

Behavioral Symptoms

It can be difficult to spot physical and psychological symptoms as people who abuse oxycodone might try to hide them, perhaps even denying signs to themselves. Behavioral signs and symptoms might be easier to spot.

If you suspect that a loved one is abusing oxycodone, you might expect to see the following signs:

  • secretiveness
  • poor hygiene and self-care
  • failing to meet work and home responsibilities
  • withdrawing from friends and family members
  • poor performance at school or work
  • risk-taking behavior e.g., drug driving, taking oxycodone with alcohol, unprotected sex

The following signs are harder to know as a loved one, but something you might recognize if you have an oxycodone addiction yourself:

  • stealing oxycodone
  • stealing money to buy oxycodone
  • going to multiple doctors to get prescriptions
  • obsession with getting the next dose
  • attempting to quit but not managing

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is a manual that gives the criteria for diagnosing opioid use disorders among other things. To confirm an opioid use disorder, it is necessary for a trained medical professional to carry out the analysis; however, it might help give you an idea if you or a loved one has an oxycodone addiction.

Oxycodone Overdose

Abusing oxycodone carries the risk of overdose. Symptoms of an overdose might be a more severe expression of oxycodone abuse symptoms, but might also include those below.

Possible Overdose Effects

  • stomach spasms
  • weak pulse
  • coma
  • difficulty breathing, shallow breathing, or no breathing
  • blue fingernails and lips

These effects can be dangerous and even fatal. Understanding oxycodone withdrawal and how you can go through withdrawal as comfortably as possible might help you to seek treatment.

Oxycodone Withdrawal


Addiction treatment always starts with detox which involves the removing of drug toxins from the body. There are two main methods used to detox: tapering and cold turkey.

  • Tapering – slowly reduce the amount of drug until you are clean
  • Cold Turkey – stop taking the drug entirely after the last dose

Cold turkey is generally not recommended as withdrawal symptoms are not managed.

During detox, you will experience withdrawal symptoms as the drug leaves your body. At this point, there is a high risk of relapse so medical support is advised.

Oxycodone Withdrawal Symptoms Include

  • sweating
  • muscle aches
  • runny nose
  • dilated pupils
  • diarrhea
  • headaches
  • shakes or seizures
  • high blood pressure
  • insomnia
  • anxiety, depression, agitation
  • cravings

Withdrawal Timeline

Oxycodone withdrawal generally takes between five and seven days but can take up to ten days if you have a heavier addiction or have previously attempted to quit.

Six to thirty hours – withdrawal symptoms can start as early as six hours after the last dose or as late as thirty hours after

Seventy-two hours – the peak of symptoms is normally reached within seventy-two hours

Five to seven days – symptoms will start to reduce by around one week

Psychological symptoms and cravings for oxycodone can last longer. It is therefore important to receive continued support even after detox.

Addiction Treatment

If you have a substance abuse problem, it is recommended to get professional treatment at a dedicated addiction treatment center. This is because quitting can be very difficult and there is a high risk of relapse.

At a treatment center, you will get twenty-four-hour support. Staff can make sure that you are receiving both medical and psychological support to make sure that withdrawal symptoms are as manageable as possible.

Treatment centers also provide ongoing support. Detoxing is generally not enough by itself to prevent relapse so this support is important for long-term recovery.

Ongoing support includes support groups and therapy, including family therapy if that is suitable for your situation. Therapy and support groups can help deal with the initial causes of addiction as well as provide support to prevent relapse.

How We Can Help

At NP Addiction Clinic we provide compassionate and comprehensive care that gives you the highest chance of long-term recovery. We recognize that every person has a different experience of recovery and therefore tailor your recovery to suit you.

We work using the principles of Narcotics Anonymous and provide a variety of support methods which include:

  • individual and group therapy
  • education
  • art, music, and recreational therapy
  • family counseling
  • transitional support
  • alumni activities

If you are ready to seek support or would like more information, please visit our website to find out more or call us at (888) 574-3506.

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To find out more contact our team


Samantha Kelly​

Director of National Business Development & Admissions Coordinator

I am a dedicated and passionate professional with extensive experience in business development Admissions and marketing. I have an incredible passion for showing others that there is a light at the end of this dark tunnel if someone truly wants it.
Being in recovery myself I understand the struggles of addiction and alcoholism. I Started this Career path in 2009. With multiple years of experience, I bring a multi-faceted approach and am always seeking new ways to make a difference in the lives of those I work with.

Kim L. Buckner


As a Substance Abuse Motivational Speaker, Pastor, Peer Advocate, and Facilitator. Kim helps clients avoid relapse by understanding their triggers. Those people, places and things that can cause craving, as well as internal triggers like feelings, thoughts, or emotions. Kim also clients with identifying and building healthy relationships now that they’re clean and sober.

Kim’s background includes extensive experience as a motivational speaker and work in faith-based organizations helping youth and adults alike. He says he is motivated by giving back to the community, understanding, and not judging who she comes into contact with. Kim’s favorite quote is by Dr. Raymond Johnson: “The respect given to others rebounds to the giver to deny the scared in the Other is to deny it in oneself.”

Caty Burns


Caty graduated from Indiana University Bloomington in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and minors in Counseling and History. Throughout her undergrad, she worked at the local CASA program, supporting volunteers advocating for children who had experienced abuse and neglect. Caty worked for seven years at a community mental health center (CMHC), partnering with children, adults, and families.

During those seven years, she taught life and coping skills as well as behavior management, provided case management and peer recovery services, and facilitated treatment teams that included the client, family, providers, and community members. I have also worked at an IOP providing group therapy services. She is currently working towards my Master of Social Work.

In her free time, Caty enjoys reading, especially historical fiction, spending time outdoors and having movie nights with her family. Disney World is her happy place, and she dreams of living among the elephants.

Madison Knowles

Mental Health Therapist

My name is Madison Knowles, I am a Mental health therapist at NPAC. I am a single-mother of two and I have a daughter who is globally delayed and has been diagnosed with autism. I have been in this industry since I was 16 years old, as I was fascinated with human behavior. I obtained my masters in applied behavioral analysis and started off working with people with disabilities. I then found my love for counseling when I worked with juveniles who had mental health and substance use issues. I then decided to go back for my mental health therapy license after that and working in a forensic treatment center. I went on to obtain my therapy credentials and since 2017, I have also been working on my PhD in forensic psychology in which I am currently working on my dissertation. I am inspired by change and how resilient people can be. My favorite inspirational quote is “Some will, Some won’t, So what, NEXT!!!” This quote has inspired me to try, try, and try again no matter how hard life gets, someone will give you a chance eventually. As a therapist at NPAC, I have been given the opportunity to work with diverse populations such as in substance use and mental health and I am known for my work with people on the schizophrenic spectrum as well as with other clients with other severe conditions including personality disorders.

Megan Carmona, LMHC

Lead Therapist

Our Lead Therapist, Megan, is a bilingual Licensed Mental Health Counselor who specializes in working with adults who struggle with addiction, anxiety, depression, and trauma. As Lead Therapist, she provides individual, family, and group therapy sessions to our clients.  Megan says “I am very passionate about therapy, especially about supporting my clients in exploring their strengths and identity. My goal is to provide individuals with the tools that can help them achieve independence in coping with their challenges and facilitating personal development.” In her free time, Megan enjoys watching docu-series and playing video games with her family. Her dream is to own acres of land so she can care for vulnerable animals, especially old dogs, cats, and horses. 

Kristen Bensley

Primary Clinician

As Primary Clinician, Kristen works with all aspects of our clinical team, from case management to primary therapy.  She has broad experience working in the mental health field. Prior to joining our team at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic, Kristen was part of the team awarded the Evernorth Behavioral Health Center of Excellence Designation by Cigna. She says her motivation is to help people rediscover who they are and become excited about the future and all the possibilities life offers. Kristen’s favorite quote is: “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”

Ronn Daigle, MSW

Therapist, Utilization Review Clinician

Ronn Daigle services as a Therapist and Utilization Review Clinician at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic. He has been working in the field of substance use disorder treatment since 2011, with experience in all facility-based levels of care. Ronn earned, both an Associate of Arts in Psychology (2013) and Bachelor of Science in Human Services, with an Addiction Studies Concentration (2015) from Indian River State College. 

Ronn additionally earned a Master of Social Work degree in 2021 and is a current Registered Clinical Social Work Intern working toward licensure (LCSW). He describes himself as detail oriented, and solution focused.

Ronn says: “There is nothing more fulfilling than working with someone who doesn’t believe in himself or herself, and being there in the moment with them when the belief begins. We work with individuals who come to us at a point and time in their respective lives where they do not believe that change for others is possible; let alone for themselves…throughout the process they eventually come to a point where they realize that change is not only possible, but achievable.”

Erika Melecio, LMHC, MCAP, CEI

Assistant Clinical Director

Erika Melecio, LMHC, MCAP, CEI is the Assistant Clinical Director at Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic who specializes in the treatment of LGBTQ, addiction, as well as mental health disorders ranging from depression and anxiety, to Bipolar Disorder, trauma, personality disorders, psychotic disorders, and eating disorders. Erika utilizes a number of modalities including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Mindfulness amongst others. Erika has been in practice for close to a decade and has earned her license in Mental Health Counseling, as well as being a Master’s Certified Addiction Professional. Erika has worked with many individuals including couples counseling and family therapy, and is fluent in Spanish.
Throughout my years of practice, one of the things I enjoy helping people find is inner peace. Whether you are in the deepest parts of depression, overrun by your anxiety, controlled by your addiction, or there are certain issues in your life that are negatively impacting your ability to function, and have a happy, healthy life, maybe now is the time to talk about it. I am a big believer in empowerment, working hard in therapy, and utilizing different techniques to help you regain that inner peace that may have been lost along the way. I want to work with you as a team because with two people, absolutely everything is possible. I want to be there as a therapist, to help build you up, support you, but also help you be honest with yourself and accountable. At the end of the day, when all is said and done, my biggest goal for you is going to be simple….for you to no longer need my services. Why? Because if you no longer need my services, it means that you have regained your peace, you have regained your strength, you have regained your confidence. It means that you now have the tools to address any issues that try to derail you, and best of all, you will have the insight to overcome and thrive. So let’s begin this journey together, and get you to the place you want to be, emotionally, mentally, psychologically, and in your sobriety.

Aurelio Ayuso, MSW, LCSW, CAP, ICADC

Clinical Director

Aurelio has worked with those that suffer from the disease of addiction in adults and juveniles alike for over 10 years, beginning in the United States Navy where he proudly served for 20 years, working with those that were succumbed by addiction due to trauma and continuing his passion for helping those in need locally in Central Florida.

He specializes in both Addictions and Trauma, he has worked first as a therapist then as the clinical supervisor to both the Juvenile and Adult Drug Court programs in Brevard County. Aurelio has been instrumental in developing substance abuse treatment programs directly tailored to help those that also suffer from complex trauma due to their addiction. He has been recognized by several organizations for his forward thinking and ability to tailor treatment to individuals in the most restrictive environments.

Mr. Ayuso received his Graduate Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Central Florida in Orlando. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker as well as Certified Addictions Professional in the State of Florida, and Internationally Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor. Aurelio specializes in the treatment of Addiction, Trauma, and Abandonment using strength based strategies deeply rooted in Solution Focused, and Mindfulness Therapies. At the Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic he passionately develops holistic curriculums that foster the belief that through addressing the mind, body, and spirit together, the Disease of Addiction can be addressed successfully.

Robert Lehmann, MHSA

Chief Operating Officer

Bob Lehmann is the Chief Operating Officer at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic. He has a Master’s Degree in Human Services Administration with a concentration in Mental Health Administration and over twenty-five years of experience as a senior executive at addiction and mental health treatment facilities.

One of the reasons for his commitment to excellence in addiction treatment was his experience related to family members who suffered from the disease of addiction. Bob has been actively involved in community organizations throughout his career. Recently he was one of the founders of the Florida Addiction Treatment Coalition (FATC) and is its present Vice President. FATC was designed to bring together treatment executives in Florida to advocate on behalf of treatment facilities and the clients they serve adhering to a foundation of integrity and service excellence.

Jose R. Toledo, M.D.

Medical Director

A well-rounded and accomplished individual, Jose R. Toledo, M.D., is the Medical Director of Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic.

Dr. Toledo is a neurologist with 25 years of experience and has been in private practice since 1991 on the Treasure Coast of Florida. He completed his neurology training at the State University of New York and his Fellowship training at the University of Pittsburgh in Epilepsy and Clinical Neurophysiology.

He also completed 24 months of acute inpatient psychiatry at the Western Missouri Mental Health Center, University of Missouri in Kansas City. In 2008, Dr. Toledo participated in and was certified in the continuing medical education activity entitled “Buprenorphine and Office-Based Treatment of Opioid Dependence” from The Medical University of South Carolina during which began his quest to found and head Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic.

Dr. Toledo is a brain specialist with particular competence in addiction medicine and out-patient detoxification treatment and integrates the fields seamlessly. He is certified to prescribe Buprenorphine (Suboxone). He incorporates his background in neurology into the addiction field. Dr. Toledo is member/fellow of The American Medical Association, The Florida Medical Association and The American Society of Addiction Medicine