When parents find out their kids are taking drugs it’s difficult to know where to turn. Talking to them, pleading with them, cajoling them, screaming at them – nothing really works. But it’s not because your kids don’t want to change. Usually, they do. But, they’re hooked, and getting unhooked isn’t easy. In fact, with some drugs, it’s almost impossible to quit on your own steam. This is especially true with a prescription drug addiction problem that involves OxyContin or other painkillers.

Why are they so hard to stop? OxyContin is an opioid – a synthetic drug that mimics heroin and other drugs derived from opium. OxyContin is basically heroin. It’s highly addictive, and it’s very painful to quit. In fact, your kid may have already tried to stop but when withdrawal symptoms began, found they just couldn’t do it.

What do they go through that’s so difficult? At the beginning they’ll probably experience anxiety, irritability and restlessness, their breathing rate increases, they start sweating, can’t eat and are covered in goose bumps. After a day or so they won’t be able to sleep, they’ll be weak and nauseous, start vomiting, their heart will beat wildly and rapidly, blood pressure goes up, and they’ll be almost crippled with abdominal cramps, muscle spasms and muscle and bone pain. It can be truly agonizing.

Withdrawal from a prescription drug addiction – when you’re taking OxyContin or other opioids – isn’t any better.

Some kids start taking OxyContin because a friend gave it to them, some get them from their parents’ or friends’ medicine cabinets and others get hooked after being given them by a doctor for a injury. If your son or daughter is a college athlete who’s had an injury, there’s a good chance they were prescribed OxyContin for the pain. If they take it for a very short time it isn’t necessarily that excruciating to stop. But sometimes even taking them for a couple of weeks can lead to prescription drug addiction. It depends on the individual’s metabolism and various other factors.

Although OxyContin is not the only problematic prescription drug, addiction to it is very common. Talk with your kid about it, find out how much they’ve been taking and for how long – if it’s longer than a few weeks, there’s a good chance they’ll need some outside help. Don’t get angry with them, that won’t help at all, let them know you love them and that you’re concerned. Then contact a specialist who can help you find a prescription drug addiction treatment center where they can get the help they need.