Percocet is an opioid pain reliever that contains a combination of oxycodone and acetaminophen. Per the National Institute on Drug Abuse, it’s estimated that 26.4-36 million individuals throughout the world abuse opioids like Percocet. Moreover, 2.1 million people in the US alone suffered from an addiction to an opioid pain reliever in 2012. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states opioids killed more than 33,000 people in 2015 alone.
In addition to the potential for overdose, people who abuse Percocet are at risk for certain side effects.
The Signs of Percocet Abuse
The signs of Percocet abuse are similar to those of other opiates. Although Percocet does effectively reduce pain, it also brings on a feeling of euphoria since it binds with the opioid receptors in the brain that are responsible for reward and pleasure.
Those who are abusing Percocet may experience sleepiness and look drowsy or tired. They may even begin to fall asleep in the midst of a conversation. Their breathing may become slowed and shallow, and reaction times and overall physical motions slow.
It might be hard to understand people who are under the influence of Percocet because they speak more slowly and slur their words. Their concentration decreases, and their memory may become poor.
It’s possible that those abusing Percocet may experience mood swings, anxiety, and depression. They may even withdraw from social interaction.
Opioids like Percocet often cause constipation, so those abusing the drug might use laxatives frequently. When people first start using Percocet, they may experience nausea or vomiting. Other symptoms of opioid abuse include the following:
- Dry mouth
- Loss of appetite
What Long-Term Side Effects Does Percocet Cause?
Repeated exposure to Percocet, especially at high dosages, has a negative impact on vital organs. Since both acetaminophen and oxycodone metabolize in the liver, the drug taxes the organ. This can lead to liver damage and even liver failure in more serious cases. Once the liver metabolizes the substances, the kidneys filter the remaining metabolites, also taxing them. The kidneys may retain urine as a result.
Severe and frequent constipation will occur with repeated exposure to Percocet. Opioids slow down the process of stool passing through the digestive tract. Percocet reduces levels of digestive secretions, which makes it more difficult to digest food properly, notes Medical News Today.
Abusing Percocet for a prolonged amount of time slightly reduces men’s testosterone levels.
With regular use of Percocet, tolerance develops, causing users to need more to feel the same effects. Percocet is both physically and mentally addictive, especially when abused. When a regular user doesn’t have Percocet or a similar substance, withdrawal symptoms occur as the drug is processed out of the body. Some examples of Percocet withdrawal symptoms include:
- Extreme drowsiness
- Stomach cramps
- Muscles aches and pains
- Joint pain
- Back pain
- Strong cravings
- Irritability and mood swings
- Runny nose
- Teary eyes
Once addiction to Percocet forms, it has the potential to lead to more issues. Those struggling with addiction might borrow money from loved ones, rack up debt, or even steal to fund their drug habit. Those who become addicted to opioids oftentimes neglect responsibilities, including work, school, and family. Eventually, virtually every area of life is affected by the addiction.