We have seen an increase in patients coming to The Coleman Institute (TCI) for rapid detox from Roxicodone (also known as Roxycodone). Roxicodone is a strong prescription pain medicine that contains an opioid (narcotic) used to manage pain severe enough to require an opioid pain medicine, when other pain treatments such as non-opioid pain medicines do not treat pain well enough or a person cannot tolerate them. It is another pain medicine that can put a person at risk for overdose and death. Even if taken as prescribed a person is at risk for opioid addiction, abuse, and misuse that can lead to death.

If someone is buying these pills on the street, they are commonly called Blues, Roxies, Roxys, or thirties--descriptors of the color and usual milligrams.

Purchased “on the street”, roxies and other oxycodone-containing pills cost about a dollar per gram. Because heroin is so much cheaper, many people shift over to using it when they can no longer afford pills.

At TCI, we help people every day who have become addicted to Roxicodone. Like many other short acting opiates, it doesn’t take long for the brain to develop a physical dependence on and then a tolerance to these drugs. This means a person requires more and more of the medications to get high. Most of the time, when a person reaches out to us for help, they are only taking the medications to prevent the horrible sickness of withdrawal—they are way beyond ‘having fun’ with Roxicodone. Now it has simply become a noose around their neck.

While stopping Roxies abruptly is not necessarily dangerous for a healthy individual, the side effects of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, chills, muscle cramps, and more can go on for days. This is a huge deterrent for people who truly want to stop.

Our rapid opioid detox prevents—or at the very least, diminishes—most of these side effects. During the course of the 3-4 day detox, our patients’ support person is clearly guided in how to dose the several medications used to make the process tolerable and comfortable for their loved one. This allows people to stay in their own home or, if coming from out of town, in the comfort of a hotel, rather than bearing the expense of an in-hospital stay.

On the final day of the detox process, after the Roxicodone is completely removed from the brain’s opiate receptors, we provide a long acting formulation of naltrexone--usually an implant--which will populate, and therefore, block opiate receptors from Roxicodone and other opioids for about 2 months.

There are few things more professionally gratifying than seeing a patient on a follow up visit who has turned their life around and been able to stay off opiates and start over. I hope you will call us for more information if you are concerned that your own or a loved one’s opioid use has gone beyond the place where it can be managed without help.

Joan Shepherd, FNP