Oxycodone High | What Does An Oxycodone High Feel Like?

Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS

on December 10, 2022
Fikret Terzic

Written by: Fikret Terzic MD, MS

An oxycodone high can feel like you are sluggish, numb, drowsy, and unable to process your surroundings properly. You may also feel nauseous, itchy, and sweaty. These effects may last for several hours after taking oxycodone.

Oxycodone is a commonly prescribed prescription opioid analgesic in the form of OxyContin or Percocet. It has a high potential for drug abuse due to its sedative effects. 

Taking painkillers to get high may include using oxycodone without a prescription, using it in high doses, or using the drug through snorting or injection.

Getting high on oxycodone can lead to a substance use disorder, a higher chance of an oxycodone overdose, and other serious health effects.

How An Oxycodone High Works

Oxycodone works by binding to opioid receptors in the central nervous system. When these receptors are activated, they can cause feelings of pleasure, analgesia (pain relief) from chronic pain, and sedation. 

This mechanism can also enforce feelings of reward, encouraging a person to take the drug again and again to achieve the same effect.

Taking pain medications in order to get “high” on these feelings of pleasure and sedation is a form of drug abuse. Snorting or injecting oxycodone can result in stronger side effects, as the drug does not have to undergo the digestion process.

The effects of oxycodone can last for about 6 hours for the immediate-release formulation of the drug, or about 12 hours for the controlled-release formulation. Taking oxycodone over a long period of time can reduce its effectiveness, while still reinforcing the behavior of drug use.

Side Effects Of Oxycodone Abuse

Abusing oxycodone to get high can cause side effects such as:

  • sedation
  • drowsiness
  • sluggishness
  • lightheadedness
  • impairment
  • constipation
  • dry mouth
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • decreased blood pressure
  • decreased heart rate

These effects may be stronger if oxycodone is taken in higher doses.

Risks Of Getting High On Oxycodone

Getting high on oxycodone can have serious side effects in the short-term and long-term.

Risk Of Opioid Overdose

Ingesting high doses of oxycodone can lead to an opioid overdose. Opioid overdoses can cause respiratory depression, a state of slowed or stopped breathing, as well as a loss of consciousness and reduced blood flow.

The risk of overdose increases if you purchase oxycodone or other opiates off the street, which may be adulterated with powerful substances like fentanyl. Mixing oxycodone with other prescription drugs, such as benzodiazepines, also increases this risk.

These effects of oxycodone overdose can be life-threatening. Naloxone can be administered to a patient to reverse the effects of overdose. If you or a loved one is a victim of oxycodone abuse, you may be able to obtain naloxone in order to prepare for a potential overdose.

Substance Use Disorder

Abusing oxycodone can reinforce behaviors of drug use due to opioid receptors in the brain. Over time, the brain may develop a physical dependence to oxycodone, and require the drug to operate. 

If you attempt to discontinue oxycodone in this state, you may experience withdrawal symptoms.

A substance use disorder is a mental health condition where you are unable to stop taking a substance due to many or all of these factors. Substance use disorders can lead to a long-term decline in health due to continued opioid use or substance abuse.

Other Side Effects

Oxycodone abuse can have specific side effects depending on the method of administration. Crushing and snorting oxycodone tablets can lead to bloody noses and long-term nasal damage.

Injecting oxycodone can cause life-threatening blood clots and abscesses. Sharing needles with other people can transmit diseases such as hepatitis or HIV.

Treatment Options For Opioid Abuse

Despite the short-term and long-term health risks of oxycodone abuse, it can be difficult for some to quit. They may be wary of withdrawal symptoms, or be unaware of alternatives to manage their chronic pain or severe pain.

Oxycodone addiction treatment programs can help you reduce or eliminate patterns of high-risk opioid abuse, manage your withdrawal symptoms, stabilize your mental health, and teach you alternative methods of pain management that may not involve opioid drugs.

For information on our inpatient addiction treatment options, please contact us today.

  1. Drug Enforcement Administration — Drug Fact Sheet: Oxycodone https://www.dea.gov/sites/default/files/2020-06/Oxycodone-2020_0.pdf
  2. Food and Drug Administration — 1. PACKAGE INSERT OXYCONTIN® (OXYCODONE HCl CONTROLLED-RELEASE) TABLETS https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2009/020553s060lbl.pdf
  3. National Library of Medicine: StatPearls — Oxycodone https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482226/

Written by Ohio Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Ohio Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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