What Does An OxyContin High Feel Like?

Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS

on January 6, 2023

A high dose of OxyContin, a strong prescription painkiller made with the opioid drug oxycodone, can produce a powerful and long-lasting euphoria. However, abusing this drug comes with a significant risk of drug overdose and long-term physical and mental harm.

OxyContin, also often referred to as Oxy, is a brand name painkiller medication containing the powerful semi-synthetic opiate/opioid drug oxycodone hydrochloride. An OxyContin high can produce feelings of pleasure, warmth, and wellness.

Some OxyContin tablets, however, feature an extended-release formulation designed to be more difficult to tamper with and abuse to get high. 

Yet, extended-release, controlled release, and immediate release medications containing oxycodone can all be misused and produce a powerful and euphoric high.

What It Feels Like To Get High On Oxycodone

The experience of abusing oxycodone and other prescription opioid analgesics varies from situation to situation.

Taken rapidly in high doses, usually through injection, snorting, plugging, or smoking, oxycodone can provoke a brief but highly euphoric and addictive rush of overwhelming pleasure.

Taken in lower doses or through oral ingestion, the drug can still be pleasurable and can offer a long-lasting feeling of emotional warmth and wellbeing.

Under the influence of the drug, people may feel completely contented and free of pain and stress. But these feelings do not last. When they wear off, a person may feel increased pain and compulsion to use the drug again.

How Oxycodone Produces Its Effects

Inside the body, oxycodone interacts with specialized opioid receptors spread throughout the central nervous system and brain.

By binding to these receptors and stimulating them far beyond what the body’s own natural endorphins can achieve, oxycodone is able to override the body’s pain responses and produce extreme feelings of pleasure and wellness. 

This also involves the release of large amounts of neurotransmitters including dopamine, which is related to reward and habit-building.

The drug also tends to dramatically slow down activity in the body and mind, including:

  • heart rate
  • blood pressure
  • body temperature
  • breathing rate

This effect can be dangerous if high doses are used, which is why it is so dangerous to mix oxycodone with other CNS depressant substances like alcohol, benzodiazepines, muscle relaxants, sedatives, and anesthetics.

OxyContin Overdose

Abusing OxyContin can increase a person’s risk of experiencing a wide variety of critical short- and long-term side effects, including drug overdose.

Signs that a person has overdosed on OxyContin may include:

  • a strong feeling of sleepiness
  • blue-colored lips and extremities
  • cold, clammy skin
  • slow or uneven heartbeat
  • slow or shallow breathing
  • interrupted breathing, gasping, or gurgling (the “death rattle”)
  • small/dilated pupils
  • difficulty thinking, moving, or responding to others
  • losing consciousness

An opioid overdose can be reversed using Narcan (naloxone), which is carried by first responders. However, if help is not provided quickly a person’s lack of oxygen from respiratory depression will cause serious brain damage or death.

Other Long-Term Risks Of OxyContin Abuse

Oxycodone is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

This means the drug has a high potential for diversion, abuse, physical dependence, and addiction, OxyContin should only be prescribed by a licensed healthcare provider.

Other risks associated with long-term abuse of oxycodone include:

  • liver or kidney damage, especially if a person is using combination formulations of the drug similar to Percocet, which also includes the over-the-counter pain relief drug acetaminophen
  • severe constipation
  • increasing opioid tolerance
  • impaired cognition and memory function
  • increased sensitivity to pain
  • impaired judgment
  • impaired coordination and movement
  • interpersonal, financial, or legal consequences
  • skin infections, hepatitis, nosebleeds, lung injuries, and other physical harms related to drug injection, snorting, or smoking
  • addiction and negative drug seeking behaviors

OxyContin Addiction

Substance use disorders can look different from person to person, but there are some telltale signs that you should be aware of, including:

  • neglecting personal responsibilities or passions
  • making an effort to get more OxyContin by doctor shopping, stealing, or buying medications online or on the street (which may produce counterfeit tablets containing illicit fentanyl)
  • promising or attempting to stop taking OxyContin but failing to do so
  • taking OxyContin more often or in higher doses than prescribed
  • continuing to abuse the drug after negative experiences
  • taking OxyContin tablets in unusual ways, including by crushing and snorting, parachuting, or injecting them

OxyContin Addiction Treatment

Ohio Recovery Center offers personalized, evidence-based care for substance abuse and addiction, including OxyContin addiction.

Our treatment services include:

To learn more about how we treat prescription drug addiction, please contact us today.

  1. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — OXYCONTIN HIGHLIGHTS OF PRESCRIBING INFORMATION https://www.fda.gov/media/131026/download
  2. National Drug Intelligence Center — OxyContin Fast Facts https://www.justice.gov/archive/ndic/pubs6/6025/6025p.pdf
  3. National Institute on Drug Abuse — Prescription Opioids DrugFacts https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugfacts/prescription-opioids
  4. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Oxycodone https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682132.html

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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