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  • Smoking Oxycodone | Can You Smoke Oxycodone?

    man smoking oxycodone

    Oxycodone is a prescription opioid that treats pain. It’s a strong painkiller that affects the central nervous system, and comes in extended-release and immediate-release prescriptions.

    Many oxycodone products have abuse-deterrent formulations, which try to decrease the drug’s effectiveness when abused. However, oxycodone is still a common target of substance abuse, which includes smoking it.

    How Oxycodone Is Smoked

    Percocet, Percodan, and Oxycontin are three common prescriptions that contain oxycodone. All three are tablets that can be smoked. Street names for oxycodone, which may indicate illicit use, include “oxy” and “perc.”

    The most common method of smoking oxycodone is by heating a tablet on a piece of tinfoil. This melts the tablet and creates vapors, which are then inhaled through a straw. 

    Smoking oxycodone may cause stronger, more immediate effects of pain relief and euphoria.

    Who Smokes Oxycodone?

    Surveys have shown that prescription drug smoking is more common among younger demographics. 

    Many of the respondents in these surveys are young adults. Many reported smoking prescription drugs, including oxycodone, as a part of social events.

    Smoking oxycodone is one form of oxycodone abuse, similar to snorting or injecting oxycodone. It can cause unique side effects that likely wouldn’t come from prescribed oxycodone use.

    The Dangers Of Smoking Oxycodone

    Oxycodone is a Schedule II controlled substance. Its pain relief makes it a target for drug abuse, and it can be habit-forming. Smoking oxycodone can also be dangerous to your health.

    The effects of oxycodone are stronger when inhaled because the substance is absorbed directly into the bloodstream instead of being digested over time. 

    You may experience more severe versions of oxycodone’s side effects, including constipation, drowsiness, and nausea. Your risk of oxycodone overdose may also increase, which can be life-threatening.

    Health Risks

    On top of oxycodone’s usual side effects, smoking oxycodone can cause a number of additional problems.

    Smoking any drug will weaken your respiratory system. Smoking causes inflammation of the lungs and puts additional stress on your heart. 

    Long-term smoking of oxycodone can cause permanent damage to your lungs and heart, and even put you at risk for various forms of cancer.

    Many of these health effects won’t happen, or are less likely to happen, if you follow recommended drug use guidelines. Following instructions from your doctor prescribing oxycodone is the safest way to take the drug.

    Oxycodone Overdose

    You may also inhale large doses of oxycodone at once when smoking it. Your risk of overdosing on oxycodone is higher because it’s harder to keep track of your intake when smoking.

    Oxycodone can be fatal when overdosed on. Smoking oxycodone can increase the risk of a toxic reaction.

    Signs of oxycodone overdose include:

    • respiratory depression (extremely slow breathing)
    • hypotension (low blood pressure)
    • cold and clammy skin
    • loss of consciousness

    In 2018, the Kaiser Family Foundation reported over 12,500 overdose deaths in the United States caused by natural and semisynthetic opioids. This includes painkillers such as hydrocodone, heroin, morphine, and oxycodone.

    Oxycodone Addiction Treatment

    Oxycodone should always be taken as directed. If you take more oxycodone than you should, you may first need to attend a detox program where your withdrawal symptoms will be monitored and supported.

    After detox, you may enter an inpatient or outpatient treatment center where your mental health and substance abuse issues will be addressed via therapy, support groups, wellness activities, and more.

    If you or a loved one are struggling with oxycodone abuse, talk to a healthcare professional or contact us today to learn about our treatment options.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2024 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) - Drug Fact Sheet: Oxycodone
    Kaiser Family Foundation - Opioid Overdose Deaths by Type of Opioid | KFF
    National Library of Medicine - Oxycodone | C18H21NO4 - Pubchem
    National Institutes of Health - Chasing the Bean: Prescription Drug Smoking among Socially Active Youth
    Smokefree - Health Effects
    U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus - Oxycodone

    Medically Reviewed by
    Kimberly Langdon M.D.
    on April 13, 2022
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