Can You Smoke OxyContin?

Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS

on January 7, 2023

Smoking OxyContin is not as common as other forms of oxycodone ingestion. However, smoking the drug can still lead to a number of serious side effects and increase the risk of lung damage, addiction, and opioid overdose.

OxyContin is the brand name for oxycodone, a prescription opioid painkiller. It’s used to treat moderate to severe pain and works on the central nervous system to block pain signals from the body to the brain. It comes in extended-release and immediate-release formulations.

Unfortunately, the prescription drug OxyContin can be abused and prepared for smoking. This method can lead to a number of dangerous side effects and increase the risk of many health problems.

Smoking OxyContin

While smoking OxyContin is not as common as snorting, injecting, or taking it orally, it’s young adults who often use the smoking method. People use it this way because they think it’s safer than snorting or injecting the drug, but that simply isn’t true. 

Smoking oxycodone sends the full dose of the drug straight to the brain and releases a large amount of dopamine. This is what brings on the rapid euphoric feeling and pain relief OxyContin is known for. 

Additionally, smoking the extended-release formulation of the drug allows the whole dose to go right to the brain when normally it would release over an extended period of time. This can increase the risk of an OxyContin overdose, especially if the drug is laced with fentanyl.

Effects Of Smoking OxyContin

Smoking OxyContin comes with its own unique set of side effects that can range in intensity from mild to severe. These side effects can occur on top of the side effects that normally come with OxyContin use.

The side effects of smoking OxyContin may include:

  • wheezing
  • coughing
  • shallow breathing
  • drowsiness
  • constipation
  • low blood pressure
  • impaired coordination
  • dry mouth
  • insomnia
  • dizziness
  • stomach pain
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • headaches
  • confusion

Dangers Of Smoking OxyContin

On top of the side effects that come with smoking oxycodone, there are also several risks and dangers that can occur when the drug is taken this way. Smoking OxyContin can increase the risk of lung problems, substance use disorder, and oxycodone overdose.

Lung Issues

One of the biggest risks that come with smoking OxyContin is lung issues. Smoking any drug is likely to cause some issues with breathing and lung function, and OxyContin is no different. 

Smoking oxycodone can lead to an increased risk of:

  • lung infections
  • emphysema
  • chronic cough
  • chronic bronchitis
  • lung damage
  • diminished lung functioning
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • lung cancer


The risk of overdose when smoking oxycodone is also very high because the full dose of the drug is going straight to the brain. It can also be impossible to know how high a dose you’re taking in.

Some of the signs and symptoms of an oxycodone overdose may include:

  • hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • cold, clammy skin
  • loss of consciousness
  • small pupils
  • loss of consciousness
  • disorientation
  • choking
  • weak pulse
  • respiratory depression
  • coma

Opioid overdoses and overdose deaths are far too common with the continuing opioid epidemic. Ohio has been particularly affected. In 2020, there were 415 overdose deaths due to natural and semi-synthetic opioids like oxycodone.

If you or a loved one show any signs or symptoms of opioid overdose, administer naloxone (Narcan) and call 9-1-1.

Dependence & Addiction

Oxycodone is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which means it has a high potential for abuse which can lead to dependence and addiction. 

If you’re abusing the drug or taking high doses of oxycodone, you’re increasing your risk of dependence and addiction. Dependence is characterized by withdrawal symptoms when you stop use, and addiction is defined by continuing to use despite consequences.

OxyContin Addiction Treatment

If you or a loved one live with OxyContin addiction, substance abuse treatment options can help. opioid addiction treatment options in healthcare settings can include:

  • medical detox for withdrawal
  • inpatient or outpatient care
  • medication-assisted treatment
  • mental health counseling
  • peer support

If you or a loved one are struggling with oxycodone abuse or opiate/opioid addiction and need treatment in Ohio, Ohio Recovery Center can help. To learn about our inpatient treatment options, please contact us today.

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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