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  • Oxycodone is a legal prescription opioid medication. It can come in a liquid form or in an extended-release tablet (brand name Oxycontin). Those who take oxycodone for severe pain should recognize that it is a narcotic that can be habit-forming. 

    This painkiller should not be taken with alcohol, as serious life-threatening health concerns may arise such as slow breathing and extreme sedation. 


    Oxycontin, or oxycodone hydrochloride, is a strong prescription pain medication that contains an opioid to help with short-term pain management. Other opioid medications include hydrocodone and morphine.

    The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDB) states that opioid pain relievers are safe when taken as prescribed by your doctor. Opioids are likely prescribed for only a short period of time.

    How Opioids Work

    Opioids work by interacting with the opioid receptors located on the nerve cells in the body and the brain. This causes sedation and may relieve the person of the pain they are experiencing.

    Due to the habit-forming nature of opiates, abusing oxycodone can lead to dependence as well as a potential for overdosing, addiction, and an increased risk of death.

    Side Effects Of Oxycodone

    According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), oxycodone may cause some common side effects:

    • ​dizziness
    • headache
    • abdominal pain
    • nausea
    • constipation
    • tiredness
    • vomiting
    • drowsiness 

    Effects Of Mixing Oxycodone & Alcohol

    Although oxycodone is meant for chronic pain, it has the potential to be abused. Those who take large quantities of oxycodone or mix the prescription drug with alcohol may experience serious health effects such as:

    • heart rate fluctuations
    • drowsiness
    • increased risk of overdose
    • mental health problems such as anxiety and depression
    • memory problems
    • impaired motor control
    • difficulty breathing
    • respiratory depression
    • coma
    • death

    Oxycodone & Other Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants

    Along with alcohol, oxycodone and other opioids should never be combined with other CNS depressants like Percocet, which includes both oxycodone and acetaminophen. 

    When multiple opioids or CNS depressants are taken together, they can become quite addictive. These pain relief medications should never be combined as you may develop a substance use problem or other serious health concerns.

    Dangers Of Mixing Alcohol & Oxycodone

    Alcohol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant and, when combined with opioids, can cause serious sedation and lead to respiratory depression. When someone experiences respiratory depression, they begin to have very slowed breathing and this can quickly cause brain damage. 

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), binge drinking has been a factor in the increased opioid misuse of Americans. Drinking large quantities of alcohol can cause a weakened immune system as well as immediate and serious side effects.

    Increased Side Effects Of Alcohol

    Those who drink an excessive amount of alcohol can experience serious side effects that are brought on quickly such as:

    • black outs
    • alcohol poisoning
    • accidental falls, drownings, car crashes
    • fluctuations with blood pressure
    • social problems such as domestic violence or child abuse

    Health Issues

    If you suffer from an alcohol addiction or struggle with alcohol abuse, chances are you may have negative long-term health issues such as:

    • cancer
    • pancreatitis
    • cardiomyopathy
    • high blood pressure
    • ​stroke
    • disruptions in mood or behavior
    • alcoholic hepatitis

    Because of the effects of alcohol, it is not recommended that someone mixes alcohol with opioids of any kind, especially oxycodone. 

    Reversing An Opioid Overdose

    The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) notes that naloxone can help reverse the effects of opioid overdose. However, overdosing with alcohol in your system can make the reversal effects of naloxone less effective.

    Treating Alcohol & Opioid Addiction

    An opioid addiction is serious and requires medical professionals to assist you in one of many available treatment facilities. You can contact your healthcare provider about your substance use and receive addiction treatment.

    You can also call our helpline and speak with one of our representatives to learn more about our detox services, support groups, and inpatient or outpatient treatment centers for yourself or a loved one.


    What Happens When You Drink Alcohol On Percocet?

    When you drink alcohol while on Percocet, serious side effects like respiratory depression, drowsiness, heart attack, and stroke may occur.

    Learn more about Mixing Percocet With Alcohol

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2023 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - More than Half of People who Misuse Prescription Opioids also Binge Drink
    Food and Drug Administration - Oxycontin
    National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism - Harmful Interactions
    National Institute on Drug Abuse - Opioids
    National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus - Oxycodone
    Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration - Naloxone

    Medically Reviewed by
    Kimberly Langdon M.D.
    on May 21, 2022
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