If you’ve taken a drug called OxyContin, generically known as oxycodone hydrochloride, then you’re aware that it’s a powerful pain reliever. What you may not know is that because it is a prescription medication and painkiller, it’s illegal to give the drug to anyone it hasn’t been prescribed to. As a narcotic, the drug is known to lead to abuse by some people, which is why it’s heavily monitored and controlled.

The drug itself comes in four dosages by prescription: 10, 20, 40, and 80 mg. The drug is taken by pill, and then it is released over time in the body. Those who want to abuse the drug may chew or grind up the drug. Once in a powdered form, it can be injected or snorted, leading to a high.

The abuse of OxyContin can lead to addiction, tolerances, dependencies, and withdrawal. Other related side effects may include cold flashes, vomiting, involuntary leg movements, pain in the bones and muscles, and restlessness. Those who take too much of the medication can overdose; this can lead to death due to respiratory depression.

Abusing, trading, or selling the medication is illegal if the person purchasing it does not have a prescription and you’re not a legal vendor. As a Schedule II drug, it’s known to have a high potential for being abused, so the penalties for selling or abusing the drug can be substantial. If you’re facing a drug charge for the abuse of OxyContin, it’s important to speak with your attorney quickly to create a defense for why you have the medication on hand.

Source: National Drug Intelligence Center, “OxyContin Fast Facts,” accessed Nov. 30, 2015