Oxycodone and alcohol are both strong drugs on their own. Each should be consumed only with the utmost care and responsibility. Alcohol is the most widely used drug in the United States, with about 70 percent of Americans drinking on at least one occasion in the past year. Oxycodone is a common prescription pain medication for Americans. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) indicates that about 81 percent of the world’s oxycodone supply is in the United States.
On their own, both alcohol and oxycodone have the potential for abuse along with various negative side effects. However, when combined, especially in excess, they can create a dangerous combination, resulting in impaired judgment, respiratory distress or even death.
What Is Oxycodone?
A powerful prescription opioid, oxycodone is one of the most frequently prescribed medications in America used to treat moderate to severe pain. While it can be very helpful for some patients, the drug does come with significant risks, including side effects ranging from drowsiness and nausea to dry mouth and loss of appetite.
Oxycodone also has the potential for misuse and is one of the most abused prescription medications in the country. When used in excess, it creates feelings of euphoria that makes normal activities, like driving, dangerous.
What Are the Side Effects of Oxycodone and Alcohol?
There are stringent warnings against mixing oxycodone with alcohol, and for good reason. While both substances can have negative side effects on their own, they are only compounded when mixed.
There are major risks associated with combining oxycodone and alcohol, meaning that the risks of interactions highly outweigh any potential benefits, especially for people who may be overusing either substance. Some of the side effects of combining oxycodone with alcohol may include:
- Impaired thinking and judgment
- Low blood pressure
- Respiratory distress
- Nausea and vomiting
- Impaired breathing
- Liver problems
- Irregular heart rate
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Dangers of Mixing Oxycodone and Alcohol
Because drinking alcohol is part of daily life for many people, they may not even realize that they should stop drinking while taking prescription narcotic drugs. When given a prescription, always consult a doctor about potential side effects and dangerous combinations.
Both oxycodone and alcohol carry significant dangers, including the potential for addiction, especially for those with a family or personal history of mental illness and substance use disorder. Using either substance can impair judgment, meaning that a person could accidentally take even more than they realize.
Combining substances can also lead to opioid overdose or alcohol poisoning and even death. While products like Narcan are available to reverse an opioid overdose, there is no medical antidote for alcohol poisoning. Contact emergency services if someone is experiencing symptoms of either overdose or alcohol poisoning.
Alcohol poisoning can be fatal. If you suspect someone is experiencing alcohol poisoning, call 911 immediately. Do NOT be afraid to seek help. If you do not have access to a phone contact Web Poison Control Services for online assistance.
Treatment for Oxycodone and Alcohol
There are a variety of resources available to people who may be misusing oxycodone and alcohol, including addiction treatment centers like The Recovery Village. With facilities across the United States, The Recovery Village is well-equipped to care for a variety of substance use and co-occurring disorders (addiction and mental and behavioral health issues together).
During treatment for alcohol and oxycodone, a person can receive medical detox care under the supervision of a trained clinical staff before transitioning into an inpatient or outpatient program. During this time, they can learn how to live without drugs and alcohol.
If you or a loved one live with addiction or are using drugs recreationally and want to stop, The Recovery Village® can help. Reach out to one of our representatives today to learn how you can start on your path to recovery.
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Alcohol.” (n.d.) Accessed March 2019.
Volkow, Nora. “America’s Addiction to Opioids: Heroin and Prescription Drug Abuse.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2014. Accessed March 2019.