Percocet is the brand name for a particular painkiller which combines acetaminophen and oxycodone. Oxycodone is a very potent opioid. It is derived from morphine's source; the same source that some illegal drugs like heroin are derived.
Oxycodone is a semi-synthetic opiate while acetaminophen is the active ingredient in Tylenol. Percocet is effective in providing relief for moderate to severe pain. Its effects last anywhere from 3 to 5 hours. This is dependent on the formulation. OxyContin, yet another painkiller based on oxycodone, may have its effects last up to 12 hours. This is due to its time release properties.
Opioids like Percocet are effective because they activate your brain's reward center. Over time, you may become addicted to the way the drug makes you feel. However, over time, the drug will cease to work as it used to, forcing you to take larger doses to feel the same effects.
Percocet is primarily prescribed in pill form. It is intended for oral delivery, with a gradual time release. Surveys have shown that for the majority of Percocet addicts, they start with taking the drug orally before resorting to snorting.
Percocet pills are crushed into a fine powder and snorted by addicts and abusers of the drug. This drastically boosts the speed at which it is absorbed in your body. There are Percocet abusers who have admitted to taking one pill orally while crushing another and snorting it at the same time. This allows them to achieve 2 distinct highs.
Percocet is remarkably commonplace. It is routinely handed out in emergency rooms, medical offices and even dental clinics all around the country. Anyone can become addicted to the drug. However, surveys have shown that for the most part, young white men abuse the drug with the highest frequency.
While some Percocet abusers have valid prescriptions, most of them get their drugs from:
A person who has become addicted to Percocet has lost all control over the capacity to cease using it. There are multiple signs of addiction. However, the pick of signs and symptoms below is what professionals use to diagnose patients. Merely meeting two or three of the criteria listed may indicate, at the very least, the presence of a disorder.
Like other opioids, Percocet overdose is extremely serious and can be fatal. Oxycodone affects the CNS by depressing it, thus slowing down such activities as heart rate, rate of breathing and brain activity. During overdose, these suppressed processes may be slowed down to the point that the heartrate and breathing cease. If not attended to promptly, this is fatal.
Signs of Percocet overdose include clammy, pale skin, vomiting or gurgling noises, inability to move, slow, shallow or stopped breathing, slow or stopped heart rate, unresponsiveness, and loss of consciousness.
This may be reversed via an antidote drug. However, the drug must be administered promptly. The risk of overdosing is multiplied if Percocet is combined with alcohol, another opioid or a benzodiazepine.
Yet another unsavory product of overdosing on Percocet is that the acetaminophen in the drug may cause severe liver damage. Combining the drug with alcohol, other medications which contain acetaminophen or misusing it is enough to boost the risk of causing grievous harm to the liver.
A mere 4,000 mg of acetaminophen may lead to serious liver damage. A tablet of Percocet may contain up to 650 mg of acetaminophen. Another worrying thing is that it's difficult to track the onset of liver damage since signs and symptoms aren't always there until the damage is advanced. Liver damage may quickly lead to liver failure and even death.
Abuse, addiction and overdosing on prescription opioids are so rampant today that the situation has been labeled an epidemic. It doesn't help that prescription opioids are prescribed at an absurdly high rate, with most of them being very addictive.
Opioids quickly lead to dependency, which leads to opioid use disorder. It's bad enough that dependence and tolerance are very real factors, but when you go on and snort drugs like Percocet, other health issues may crop up. They include:
Prescription opioids spawned the current opioid epidemic because of their addictive nature and the rate at which they're prescribed. They are some of the most effective pain management tools medicine has, but they quickly form dependencies which may lead to an opioid use disorder. While opioids carry an inherent risk of chemical dependence, snorting them can cause other health issues.
Frequent infections caused by Percocet abuse via snorting may lead to serious damage. A lot of the time too, bacteria are transferred from whatever snorting tool is in use (Percocet abusers like to use dollar bills, straws, table surfaces, Etc.) When these bacteria are transferred into the nose, infections may manifest.
It is very common for opioid use disorder to co-occur with other substance abuse types. It is also common for co-occurrence with mental illnesses. Many mental health conditions will have similar risk factors as substance use disorders. As such, they often occur simultaneously.
To many people who have never used the drug, buying and injecting heroin seems so extreme that they have trouble understanding how people get to that point. However, when talking to persons who have progressed from prescription opioid abuse to heroin abuse, the steps involved become clearer.
Oftentimes, a prescription opioid use disorder starts from the user following a legit prescription from his or her health provider, only to find out that they have developed dependency. When the prescription medication dries up, they look elsewhere. Most of their sources are illicit.
This is the stage where experimenting with snorting Percocet begins. After taking the drug orally for a while, they may interact with persons who influence them to dabble in other methods. Prescription opioids are expensive and generally harder to access, ultimately pushing the person to illegal options.
The media often portrays the drug as exclusively intravenous. However, the drug may be snorted or smoked in purer forms. Persons who have been snorting Percocet for a while will often find snorting heroin to be a more palatable next step, owing to the familiarity of the delivery method. Heroin is also cheaper than Percocet and often more readily available.
Ultimately, the person will become a full-fledged heroin abuser, further opening them up to other mental and physical health issues.
Percocet overdoses may arise in conjunction with misuse of the prescription drug as well as from willful use and abuse of samples which are illicitly obtained.
Many factors will increase an individual's risk of overdosing. However, choosing not to abuse a powerful painkiller like Percocet is the surest way one can eliminate this risk. When you use Percocet outside of the laid down prescription guidelines, you are already opening yourself up to the possibility of overdosing.
As Percocet abuse escalates, the user may start to build dependency along with tolerance. The user may find him or herself needing larger doses of the drug to get high. This may push them to a lethal dose.
Additionally, and this one is quite common, an user who has relapsed may attempt to take the dose they were used to, pre-abstinence, and unintentionally OD because the body's tolerance for the drug has worn off significantly.
The first step to take if you suspect a Percocet overdose is to call 911 so that you, or the endangered person may receive immediate help. Percocet overdosing has dangerous repercussions and may leave the user grappling with permanent mental and physical damage. They may also become comatose or even die.
After calling for emergency help, you ought to closely monitor the overdosing individual so that any condition changes are noted and reported to the medical crew. You should try to keep them awake and upright if possible. If breathing is erratic or stopped altogether, CPR may help.
Pain Medicine suggests that prescription painkiller abuse ends up costing American society up to $55.7 billion every year. This may explain why the whole situation has been termed an epidemic. It is a remarkably serious problem and doctors all over the country are doing their best to fight it.
The Utah Addiction Center has suggested that doctors follow a 9-step process prior to providing medications like Percocet to patients. In this process, the doctor will determine the person's drug history as well as determine the level of pain that the patient is in. The doctor will then determine the programs which will be most effective.
Families which spot a Percocet addiction may prove to be immense forces of change. They may hold structured conversations, referred to as interventions, and educate the individual on the process of addiction. During this talk, the family will outline the symptoms of addiction that they have seen and outline the reasons why they believe that treatment is necessary.
Interventions will usually be smoother if a professional interventionist is involved. He or she will guide the intervention, ensuring that the conversation remains civil. The family will be tasked with persuasion and convincing. At the end of the intervention, the addict ought to be sufficiently ready for enrollment into treatment.
This is the point where things truly start to look up. In your typical structured Percocet program, persons who are nursing addictions will get the opportunity to get sober in an environment which is safe and supervised. They will be able to access medical support and they will be walked through the withdrawal process without feeling upset or ill.
They will also be able to access therapy sessions which may help to build their skills in relapse-prevention. As such, they will be able to maintain sobriety in the long term. Support work may play a key role as well. It may help persons with addictions fully understand that they are not alone.
In a dual diagnosis program, persons who are nursing Percocet addictions as well as mental illnesses learn how the two conditions combine and intersect. They may develop skills which will ultimately keep them away from self-medicating with drugs.
Rather than seeking out Percocet when symptoms of mental illnesses get more potent, they will know how to use techniques which are based on science and research to move past the tough situation they are in, and ultimately grow stronger. They will understand how to use these techniques to help them maintain long term sobriety.