Oxycodone is a synthetic drug that is commonly prescribed for the treatment of pain that is moderate or severe. Painkillers such as Percocet, Percodan, Roxicodone, Roxicet and Oxycontin all contain Oxycodone in some formulation often paired with ibuprofen or acetaminophen. The drug was first synthesized in Germany in 1916 but was not widely used or even made available for medical use until about 20 years later.
Oxycodone is synthesized from Thebaine which is derived from the opium poppy. Opium was widely used throughout ancient history for its sedative and calming effects. The history of Oxycodone, though it technically began in 1916 did not really gain attention of the public or that of legal authorities until much later in the 1940s.
Although Oxycodone was made available for medical use in the 1930’s, the drug was not widely used until the mid-1950s and early-1960s. Until this point, Oxycodone was thought to be a non-addictive or less habit-forming substitute for other medications and opiates such as heroin and morphine. Unfortunately, as use of the drug gained attention, the risks associated with sustained used quickly became evident and it was realized that Oxycodone was in fact very habit-forming in nature.
During the 1960s, the Attorney General of California estimated that as many as 33% of all drug addiction cases in the state of California were the result of an addiction to Percodan—a drug which contained Oxycodone. It was later determined that Oxycodone was in fact causing thousands of addiction related problems nationwide and that there was a need for greater control over the drug use.
In 1974, the Food and Drug Administration allowed the release of Percocet, another drug which contained Oxycodone in various amounts. At this time, the drug was not widely prescribed and when it was prescribed, the doses and number of doses were very small because pharmacists feared that by holding the drug they were at risk of being robbed. Many pharmacies did not even carry Percocet for quite some time because of the fear associated with criminal activity.
This would prove to be a problem throughout the history of Oxycodone. In 1996, Oxycontin, a time release form of Oxycodone that was supposed to curb abusive use of the drug was released. This was the very first single compound Oxycodone product made available to the public by prescription and it would also prove to become the most widely abused prescription medication ever made.
Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, OxyContin would continue to be widely abused and the number of addiction related crimes, overdoses and similar problems would continue to rise. Recreational use of Oxycontin continues to be a very concerning problem throughout America and accounts for millions of criminal cases, overdose cases and accidents each year.