Smoking Oxycodone | Effects, Risks, Dangers, & Treatment

Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS

on December 10, 2022

Oxycodone is used as an analgesic for the treatment of severe pain. With a high potential for drug abuse, this prescription opioid is not always taken as directed. When abused, people often result to snorting or smoking the drug.

And unfortunately, those who smoke it often do so because they are desperate for pain relief and think smoking is a safe method. However, smoking oxycodone can actually be life-threatening.

When smoked, Oxycodone (brand names Oxycontin and Percocet) goes directly into the bloodstream and quickly makes its way to the central nervous system. This speedy transit can lead to severe side effects, even more so if you snort the extended-release formulation.

Effects Of Smoking Oxycodone

Many adverse effects can occur when smoking oxycodone, and they can range from mild to severe. The most common side effects of oxycodone may include:

  • insomnia
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • constipation
  • stomach pain
  • confusion
  • nausea and vomiting
  • headaches
  • low blood pressure
  • weakness
  • wheezing
  • respiratory depression
  • shortness of breath

Dangers Of Smoking Oxycodone

Smoking oxycodone for a long period of time can also cause serious dangers and long-term health risks including:

  • diminished lung functioning
  • chronic bronchitis
  • chronic coughing
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • brain damage (from oxygen deprivation)
  • emphysema and lung cancer
  • heart failure
  • lung and respiratory tissue damage
  • sleeplessness and sleep disorders like insomnia
  • coma
  • death 

Tolerance & Dependence

Beyond the dangers listed above, smoking and abusing oxycodone can also lead to tolerance and dependence if you use the drug long enough.

When you become dependent on the opioid drug, your body no longer knows how to function properly without it. If you try to quit, serious withdrawal symptoms can show up and may include:

  • nausea and vomiting
  • fatigue
  • depression
  • coughing
  • diarrhea
  • runny nose
  • anxiety
  • shaking
  • increased heart rate
  • body aches
  • poor concentration
  • mood swings

Tolerance occurs when your body becomes less sensitive to the painkiller. This often compels people to take higher doses of oxycodone in order to feel the same effects they once did at a lower dose. This can easily lead to an overdose if you take more than your body can handle.

Opioid Overdose

An opioid overdose is one of the most dangerous risks you face when smoking this prescription drug. Oxycodone abuse significantly increases the risk of overdose.

When inhaling oxycodone, it’s very difficult to know how much of the drug you’re consuming.

Additionally, since the drug is bypassing the digestive system and the safeguards set up there, your body can easily become overwhelmed by the potency.

If you or a loved one are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you need to call 911 immediately:

  • slow, shallow breathing
  • small pupils
  • loss of consciousness
  • disorientation
  • choking or gurgling sound
  • clammy skin
  • weak pulse

Once emergency help arrives and you’re at the hospital, doctors will likely prescribe naloxone (Narcan) to prevent some of the most serious effects, including overdose death.

Treatment For Opioid Abuse & Addiction

Treatment for an oxycodone addiction begins with a detox program. During detox, healthcare professionals help you come off the drug and treat any withdrawal symptoms that occur.

Once you’re stable, you can choose between an inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment program. 

In both treatment settings, you’re able to participate in behavioral therapy and support groups, learn more about addiction, and receive care for any co-occurring mental health disorders you may have.

If you or a loved one is struggling with opioid/opiate addiction and need information on substance abuse treatment options, please contact our treatment center today.

  1. Ohio Substance Abuse Facts
  2. The Ohio Opioid Epidemic
  3. Drug Rehab Programs In Ohio
  4. Midwest Drug Rehab Centers

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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