The OxyContin® (oxycodone hydrochloride controlled-release) pill is an opioid analgesic. It is supplied in 10 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg, 80 mg, and 160 mg tablet strengths for oral administration. OxyContin pills are available by prescription only. The pills are to be taken whole. Taking broken, chewed, or crushed tablets could lead to the rapid release and absorption of a potentially toxic dose of oxycodone. OxyContin® 80 mg and 160 mg Tablets are for use in opioid tolerant patients only.
The pill strengths describe the amount of oxycodone per tablet as the hydrochloride salt. The structural formula for oxycodone hydrochloride is as follows:
C18H21NO4oHCl MW 351.83
The chemical formula is 4, 5-epoxy-14-hydroxy-3-methoxy- 17-methylmorphinan-6-one hydrochloride. Oxycodone is a white, odorless crystalline powder derived from the opium alkaloid, thebaine. Oxycodone hydrochloride dissolves in water (1 g in 6 to 7 mL). It is slightly soluble in alcohol (octanol water partition coefficient 0.7). The tablets contain the following inactive ingredients: ammonio methacrylate copolymer, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, lactose, magnesium stearate, povidone, red iron oxide (20 mg strength tablet only), stearyl alcohol, talc, titanium dioxide, triacetin, yellow iron oxide (40 mg strength tablet only), yellow iron oxide with FD&C blue No. 2 (80 mg strength tablet only), FD&C blue No. 2 (160 mg strength tablet only) and other ingredients.
The growing abuse of the OxyContin pill, commonly known as Oxy's, OC's, Killers, Poor Man's Heroin, and Hillbilly Heroin, is leading to an increase in burglaries, thefts, and robberies of residences and pharmacies. When lawenforcement was asked what OxyContin pill strengths were most commonly abused or diverted they replied "primarily for the 40 mg. tablets, although all strengths (10 mg., 20 mg., 40 mg., 80 mg., and 160 mg.) have been encountered."