Percocet is a Schedule II prescription drug. It is an opioid-based cocktail consisting of oxycodone and acetaminophen — most widely recognized at Tylenol.
It is a popular choice among physicians who prescribe it regularly for moderate to severe pain relief, but unlike other prescription opioids, it is not a good candidate for post-surgical treatment due to clotting issues. The acetaminophen component isn’t added for pain relief, but rather as a booster for the effects of oxycodone. Percocet is intended to treat short-term pain, although many prescribing physicians refill patients’ supplies for long periods of time.
Who Abuses It?
Opioids are abused by all kinds. From the suburban mom you see at the bus stop with her child every morning to the very doctor who is prescribing your meds, just about anyone can become dependent on Percocet. That being said, it’s more common in certain individuals. Females, youths, and senior citizens are actually the most common abusers of Percocet. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, 135,971 people overdosed on opioids in 2010, and 53 percent of them were women.
Individuals suffering from a mental health disorder are more likely to engage in substance abuse and become addicted.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness notes 53 percent of drug addicts also have at least one serious mental health disorder. Since chronic pain is often a precursor for those who end up abusing opioids like Percocet, people with substantial injuries following work-related or vehicular accidents, those returning from combat, and those with chronic pain are at increased risk.
How Is Percocet Abused?
Street dealers may promote the drug as Percs, Roxies, and Blue Dynamite, among other names. The price of Percocet on the street can cost you as little as $2 to as much as $15 per pill, StreetRx reports. While it is certainly widely available, Percocet is most commonly attained via a prescription rather than purchased from a dealer. In 2011, USA Today reports doctors writing 31.9 million prescriptions for the generic Percocet. Most users swallow the tablet in pill form, but others may resort to crushing and snorting it or dissolving it to prepare it for injection.
What Does Percocet Addiction Look Like?
Initial effects of abusing Percocet include a trademark opioid high, followed by significant drowsiness. Among those who become addicted, symptoms and signs of such include:
- Using the drug to avoid withdrawal
- An inability to cut back on how much you use or to stop altogether
- Continual use even though it is taking a toll on your life
- Removing yourself from activities you used to enjoy or no longer associating with people you once called friends
- Always being preoccupied with making sure you have a decent supply on hand, and never stopping mental preparation for how to get more drugs or where to get them from
- Having trouble with the law due to your Percocet abuse, but that doesn’t deter you from continuing to use
- Losing friends and ruining relationships you used to care about due to your Percocet abuse
- An increase in risky behavior when under the influence, such as stealing, having unprotected sex, or driving recklessly
Withdrawal from Percocet generally sets in within six hours of the last use and peaks around two to three days after that. Symptoms of Percocet withdrawal include:
- Cravings for the drug
- Muscle and bone pain
- Nausea with or without vomiting
- Uncontrolled muscle twitching
- Dry mouth
- Trouble sleeping
Certainly, the biggest risk that comes with abusing Percocet is that of overdose. All too often, individuals assume they’re exempt from such. With an “it won’t happen to me” mindset, they habitually misuse or abuse the prescription opioid. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, prescription pain reliever overdoses claim the lives of 46 people every single day in the United States.
Medical Daily attests to 67.8 percent of all hospital-treated overdose cases in 2010 involving prescription opioids.Frequently, many abusers are aware that they feel they can’t cope without the drugs, but the addiction is far too strong and withdrawal far too uncomfortable to tolerate life without them. Thus, the addiction perpetuates in a vicious cycle, growing stronger. Over time, increased doses are needed to achieve the same high and stave off withdrawal. This is often where many will meet their demise due to overdose. Nearly 68 percent of overdoses in 2010 involved prescription drugs, per Drugs.com.If you’re using Percocet, it is vital that you are aware of the signs of overdose. They include:
- Extreme fatigue
- Shallow breathing
- Possibly ceased respiratory function
- Tiny pupils
After seeking help or calling 911, try to note the amount of Percocet that was taken and when, as well as the user’s name and weight and if the medicine was prescribed to them. One of the biggest risks among Percocet abusers is found when they crush the pill and ingest it ways it wasn’t intended. The pill is made so that the oxycodone will slowly release in regulated doses throughout the day. When it is crushed, this barrier is broken down and the result is ingestion of one large dose that could be life-threatening.
A Need for Help
If you find that the information detailed above sounds a lot like you or someone you know, it’s likely time to seek help. Your addiction will not get better on its own. In fact, it will worsen. Likewise, opioid detox and treatment isn’t something you can manage at home.
Professional help should always be sought in cases of Percocet abuse and addiction. When you arrive at a treatment center, you’ll be processed for admission and meet with a few people regarding your time in treatment. One of these people will likely be a physician who will oversee your medical care and prescription needs.
Another will be a therapist or other mental health professional. You’ll be asked to discuss your medical history with both, including any mental health care or diagnoses you may have received in the past. Helpguide notes 53 percent of all drug addicts are suffering from one or more serious mental health problems. Being honest about your mental health is a very critical step in the treatment process if you want to get the most out of this experience. No one is going to judge you, and you certainly aren’t going to stand out from the crowd. Rather, you might be surprised at how many people you meet in treatment are just like you.
After you’re admitted, you’ll progress straight to detox. When you’re addicted to opioids, things work a little differently. Instead of drying out the way another addict might or waiting for the withdrawal week to end, you’ll benefit from a maintenance program that will make the detox experience far more tolerable. Methadone is a commonly prescribed drug for the treatment of opioid dependence and can work well for Percocet abusers.
The drug carries a 60 to 90 percent success rate, per Recovery Today. Another popular option for medical maintenance treatment is buprenorphine. Marketed under many brand names, the drug has shown varying success, topped at 88 percent in initial studies, the The Fix reports. Here at Futures, our caring staff offers therapy, support group services, and more to make sure you’re prepared for a drug-free life when you leave us. Call Futures of Palm Beach today and speak with one of our supportive representatives about how we can help you.