PercocetⓇ, the brand name for a drug combination containing oxycodone and acetaminophen, is an addictive drug that’s a controlled substance and available only by prescription. When doctors prescribe it, it’s for the treatment of pain ranging from moderate to severe, and there are strict guidelines surrounding not only why it’s prescribed but also how. A doctor will provide a patient with a set of instructions as to how to take the PercocetⓇ, such as only taking one tablet every six hours. These instructions are important for a number of different reasons.

You should only take the amount of PercocetⓇ directed by your doctor because of the risks of overdose and dangerous side effects. PercocetⓇ  contains oxycodone, which is an opioid. Opioids depress your central nervous system, which includes your respiratory system and your heart. If you take too much of any opioid including oxycodone, it can lead to severe respiratory depression, overdose, coma or death. PercocetⓇ also contains acetaminophen, a non-opioid pain reliever, which is toxic to the liver in high doses. Acetaminophen toxicity can even be fatal in some cases.

Percocet Abuse

The physical risks associated with PercocetⓇ are just some of the reasons you should only take it as instructed.

There’s also the risk of addiction and dependence. This drug is frequently abused, and one of the ways to reduce the chances of becoming addicted or dependent is to follow your doctor’s instructions exactly. You still may become addicted, but the risk is lower.

Unfortunately, many people abuse PercocetⓇ along with other opioids, which is why we’re in the midst of an opioid epidemic in the U.S. right now.

PercocetⓇ abuse can take many forms. When you take a higher dosage of PercocetⓇ or take it more often than directed, that is inherently considered abuse. People also abuse it when they purchase or use it illicitly without a prescription. Another way it’s abused occurs when it’s taken any other way besides being orally swallowed. Two of the most common forms of abuse include crushing up the tablets and snorting them or shooting it, which means injecting it.

Snorting or shooting PercocetⓇ are incredibly dangerous, and even if you’re doing it to relieve pain, it’s still considered abuse.

Why People Start Shooting Percocet

When someone takes an opioid like PercocetⓇ, it can create a feeling of euphoria or a general sense of well-being. This is because opioids bind to opioid receptors in the central nervous system, which activates the brain’s reward system and triggers the release of feel-good chemicals. People may experience this feeling even when they’re taking PercocetⓇ as prescribed.

Often people who are only using PercocetⓇ as a way to get high and achieve that sense of euphoria will look for different ways to administer it because it can make for a  more powerful high.

Also, shooting or snorting PercocetⓇ can cause it to be released into the bloodstream more quickly. If you take PercocetⓇ orally as directed, it first has to be moved through your gastrointestinal system before, it can cross the blood-brain barrier, which is when you feel the effects. When a person shoots PercocetⓇ, the effects happen within a few minutes because it doesn’t have to go through the digestive system first. Shooting PercocetⓇ causes more of the drug to go directly to the brain compared with other routes of administration.

Shooting or snorting PercocetⓇ can lead to a higher risk of overdose and respiratory failure than what would occur with normal use.

In order to shoot PercocetⓇ, a person would crush up the tablets, dissolve them and then inject it into the body with a hypodermic needle. In some cases, this can cause bodily systems to shut down completely, and injecting PercocetⓇ can result in low blood pressure, heart failure, and death.

Intravenous drug use also has many other health risks aside from rapid overdose, including the spread of infectious diseases like hepatitis and HIV. There is also the risk of a heart infection called endocarditis, lung infection, blood clots, artery damage, skin infections, collapsed veins, or death of arm or leg tissues.

Also, many drugs like PercocetⓇ have additives that shouldn’t be injected directly into the vein, and they can damage everything from your cardiovascular system to the blood vessels in your brain.

It’s important to realize how many dangers are associated with shooting PercocetⓇ. It can already be a highly addictive and dangerous drug, as most opioids are, and shooting it amplifies those risks even more.

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Editor – Megan Hull
Megan Hull is a content specialist who edits, writes and ideates content to help people find recovery. Read more
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Medically Reviewed By – Christina Caplinger, RPh
Christina Caplinger is a licensed pharmacist in both Colorado and Idaho and is also a board-certified pharmacotherapy specialist. Read more
Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with 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 providers.