What is Percocet?
Percocet is a brand name prescription narcotic that is a combination of Oxycodone and Acetaminophin, and is used to treat moderate to severe pain. Oxycodone is a powerful opioid narcotic used in several potent pain relievers, and Acetaminophen is a popular over-the-counter pain reliever, whose most common brand is Tylenol. The Acetaminophin acts to increase the effectiveness of the Oxycodone. The highly addictive drug Oxycodone is what makes Percocet so dangerous – Percocet is thus also highly addictive and potentially deadly if abused. Percocet is classified by the DEA as a Schedule II Controlled Substance. On the US Department of Justice Controlled Substance Schedules, a Schedule II Controlled Substance is described as follows:
Substances in this schedule have a high potential for abuse which may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence. Examples of Schedule II narcotics include: hydromorphone (Dilaudid®), methadone (Dolophine®), meperidine (Demerol®), oxycodone (OxyContin®, Percocet®), and fentanyl (Sublimaze®, Duragesic®). Other Schedule II narcotics include: morphine, opium, codeine, and hydrocodone. Examples of Schedule IIN stimulants include: amphetamine (Dexedrine®, Adderall®), methamphetamine (Desoxyn®), and methylphenidate (Ritalin®). Other Schedule II substances include: amobarbital, glutethimide, and pentobarbital.
How is Percocet Supplied and Taken?
Percocet is supplied in tablet form, and is intended for oral consumption in whole tablet form. Since the drug is designed to release the pain relieving ingredients over time, the tablets should not be scored, cut, or crushed, as this can cause a much higher amount of the narcotic than intended to be released into the users bloodstream. Percocet is produced by Endo Pharmaceuticals. Percocet is available in the following dosages, according to the Endo Pharmeceuticals website: Each tablet, for oral administration, contains oxycodone hydrochloride and acetaminophen in the following strengths: Oxycodone Hydrochloride, USP 2.5 mg Acetaminophen, USP 325 mg Oxycodone Hydrochloride, USP 5 mg Acetaminophen, USP 325 mg Oxycodone Hydrochloride, USP 7.5 mg Acetaminophen, USP 325 mg Oxycodone Hydrochloride, USP 10 mg Acetaminophen, USP 325 mg
How is Percocet Abused?
Those who are addicted to Percocet may simply ingest the pills in whole form. However, they will also often crush the pills and inject or snort them, as the addict wants the higher dosage with more powerful and immediate effects. The Oxycodone in the Percocet acts much like Morphine in the human body. Opioids in general act as depressants of the Central Nervous System (CNS). The drug provides pain relief as intended, but also acts as a powerful euphoric, which is the “high” the addict seeks. Once active in the user’s central nervous system, it binds to certain receptors, resulting in an intense feeling of euphoria. However, Percocet has many potentially dangerous and even deadly side effects. These include drowsiness, itching, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, impaired coordination, respiration depression, and a decreased heart rate. These side effects are often enhanced when the drug is abused or misused, which can lead to coma and even death. The Acetaminophen in Percocet also has the potential to cause liver damage, especially when taken over a prolonged period. The abuse of prescription drugs is a major issue, and has recently been called a public health epidemic. In fact a recent Centers for Disease Control report on opioids and their use recommends new guidelines for prescribing these powerful drugs. At a recent conference, President Obama addressed the heroin and opioid abuse epidemic, and called opioid abuse as important a threat as terrorism. The over-prescribing of and subsequent abuse of prescription drugs had led to many serious challenges like Percocet addiction and addiction to many other opioid drugs.
Percocet Addiction Warning Signs
Percocet addiction may be difficult to recognize in many people. Prescription drug abuse often manifests itself in a different way than the use of illegal street drugs. For instance, illegal street drugs by definition require the person to associate with criminals, while prescription drugs can usually be obtained through doctors. Thus the threat of criminal charges and the subsequent consequences may not affect the user. Many people are able to function somewhat normally when taking excessive doses of Percocet or other pain medications. In many cases a Percocet addiction is not known to be present until the user has either progressed to illegal drugs and their consequences, experienced addiction-related physical health issues, or overdosed on the drug. However, there are certain signs of Percocet Addiction. As the user becomes addicted they require larger doses of the drug to satisfy their cravings. The prescriptions that can be obtained from only one doctor become insufficient. The user will then obtain prescriptions from multiple doctors – this is a sure sign of prescription drug abuse. Other symptoms of Percocet Addiction include:
- A belief that one must have the drug in order to engage in everyday activities
- Losing control over use of the drug
- Continuing to use the drug even after experiencing negative effects
- Spending a great deal of time and effort trying to acquire the drug
- The development of a tolerance to the drug
- Losing interest in normal activities and interests
- Taking more and more of the drug in an effort to relieve symptoms of withdrawal
- Switching over to street drugs like heroin
Once a real desperation takes hold, the user will steal, lie, and often do almost anything to feed their Percocet Addiction. Percocet and other prescription opioids also often lead the addict to heroin, which can actually be easier to obtain and cheaper once the addict has advanced to a certain point in their addiction. Percocet addiction can also lead to overdose, and it’s important to be able to recognize those symptoms as well. Symptoms of Percocet overdose include:
- Cold, clammy skin
- Difficulty breathing
- Excessive sleepiness
- Muscle weakness
- Dizziness and/or loss of blance
- Increase or decrease in pupil size
- Difficulty breathing
- Blue tinge to fingernails, lips, or skin
- Loss of consciousness
Percocet Addiction Withdrawal Symptoms
For a person who is addicted to Percocet trying to stop the use of the drug usually results in withdrawal. The severity of withdrawal symptoms varies depending on the duration of use and dosage. The primary phase of Percocet Addiction Withdrawal typically lasts about one week for most people, but sometimes as long as two weeks. Symptoms of Percocet Addiction Withdrawal in the primary withdrawal phase include:
- Runny nose
- Nausea and vomiting
- Flu-like symptoms
- Muscle pains aches
- Restless leg syndrome
- Stomach cramps
Lingering effects of the withdrawal process that are uncomfortable, but usually much less severe and dangerous, can last for months after discontinuation of drug use. These symptoms may include irritability, insomnia, depression, and lack of energy, and can greatly vary from data to day.
Percocet Addiction Detox
Because of the severe and potentially fatal withdrawal symptoms described above, a person should never attempt to detox from Percocet addiction on their own. Abruptly ceasing the use of opioid drugs like Percocet is extremely dangerous. Severe withdrawal symptoms are very uncomfortable at best and at worst can be life-threatening. The Oceanfront Recovery Percocet Addiction Detox Program is a medically supervised procedure that can help to make the withdrawal from Percocet addiction as comfortable as possible. This helps decrease the incidence of relapse, since the addict does not crave the drug as intensely.
Percocet Addiction Treatment
Once detox from Percocet is complete it is crucial that the addict enter some form of drug addiction treatment. Percocet Addiction is a serious manifestation of drug addiction, and drug addiction is now generally accepted by the medical community to be a disease, but thankfully it is also considered to be a treatable disease. Sometimes a patient will enter an inpatient rehabilitation facility, although outpatient treatment may be an alternative for some individuals. In any event, one should be careful when choosing a Percocet Addiction Treatment Center. The staff should be knowledgeable and experienced, having both professional training in addiction and also a genuine concern and compassion for each client as an individual. The program should offer medically supervised detox, and have staff who specialize in treating opiate addiction. One of the benefits of such a treatment program is the fact that the Percocet Addict will be in the company of other recovering addicts, and thus realize that they are not alone or unique in their addiction. The fellowship that grows in such settings is a powerful force in a successful recovery. Whether it is yourself, or a loved one, who suffers from Percocet Addiction, please contact Oceanfront Recovery to begin the journey of recovery today.