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The Effects of Percocet Use

Percocet is the brand name of a narcotic pain reliever composed of a combination of oxycodone and acetaminophen and is used to treat moderate to severe pain. Oxycodone, a drug in the opiate family of substances, is the stronger and more addictive substance of Percocet's ingredients. Short-term effects of Percocet last approximately four to six hours and include pain reduction, euphoria and sleepiness.

Google Trends: Searches for “Percocet”

Quotes on Percocet addiction

“I craved the feeling that I had while taking Percocet because I felt it made me an overall better person. Being a nurse, I had easy access to a multitude of drugs and Percocet was only one of many controlled substances that passed through my hands every night at work in the emergency department. Because of the scrutiny that narcotic counts are under, I had to devise a plan to be able to acquire some without being flagged, and that is when the deceit began. I became preoccupied with obtaining opioids, and patient care took a back burner.” (source)

Percocet Effects Quiz question 1
Side Effects
Side effects of Percocet, which can vary and may not be experienced by all individuals taking the substance, include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Euphoria
  • Shallow breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Drowsiness or sedation
  • Low blood pressure

Adverse side effects of Percocet abuse that require immediate medical attention include:

  • Respiratory depression
  • Shock
  • Liver damage
  • Extremely low blood pressure

Long-Term Effects of the Percocet
Long-term effects occur as the individual consumes the drug over a longer period and include:

  • Physical addiction
  • Tolerance
  • Liver damage
  • Kidney failure
  • Chronic constipation
  • Slightly decreased testosterone levels in men

Physical and mental effects of Percocet

  • Percocet is used for the treatment of moderate to severe pain.
  • Because it contains oxycodone, Percocet can be habit-forming, leading to mental or physical dependence. It should not be used for mild or occasional pain.

Effects of Percocet overdose

  • excessive sleepiness
  • slowed breathing
  • cold, clammy skin
  • blue color of skin, fingernails, lips, or area around the mouth
  • coma
Acetaminophen overdose can cause:
  • stomach pain
  • itching
  • dark urine
  • clay-colored stools
  • jaundice

Effects of withdrawal from Percocet and other opiates

  • Agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Diarrhea
  • Sweating
  • Goose bumps

Percocet Effects Quiz question 2
Percocet Dependence
Abuse and addiction are separate and distinct from dependence and tolerance. Percocet can cause physical as well as psychological dependence. Dependence occurs as the person receives positive or negative reinforcement to continue using the drug. Tolerance is usually progressive; it occurs as the body becomes used to the drug - sometimes rather quickly. When a person becomes tolerant to the drug, many times he or she will tend to increase the dose to achieve the same effect. Psychologically, long-term use of Percocet may lead to overreliance on the need for the drug and cause varying degrees of drug-seeking behavior to take place. Addiction is manifested by signs and symptoms such as the inability to stop using the drug despite negative consequences, obsessive preoccupation with the drug, withdrawal and denial. Oftentimes, when addiction is present, the person displays compulsive use, usually for nonmedical purposes. Drug addiction is a disease that affects every aspect of a person's life and can occur to any person regardless of age, sex or race. Results from the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health indicate that approximately 1.9 million people in the United States meet abuse or dependence criteria for prescription opioids.

Yearly deaths linked to oxycodone medications and other opioid use

United States

Deaths involving oxycodone and other opioids (CDC WONDER query, ICD-10 code T40.2, “Poisoning by, adverse effect of and underdosing of other opioids”)

Oxycodone-related emergency room visits due to nonmedical use

United States

Oxycodone-related emergency room visits by people seeking detox services

United States

Emergency room visits due to adverse reactions to oxycodone

United States

Emergency room visits due to suicide attempts involving oxycodone

United States

Lasting health effects of Percocet

Chronic use or abuse of opioids such as Percocet is associated with:

  • Peripheral edema
  • Immune suppression
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Osteoporosis
  • Withdrawal symptoms in infants born to mothers using oxycodone medications (source)

Legal penalties involving Percocet

  • Oxycodone-containing medications, such as Percocet, are federally classified as a Schedule II drug. (source)
  • Trafficking in a Schedule II drug like Percocet can carry a federal sentence of up to 20 years imprisonment and a $1 million fine. (source) State penalties for possession of Schedule II drugs can include prison sentences of up to 15 years. (source) (source 2)
  • The effects of Percocet can be a factor in impaired driving, leading to DUI charges. (source)

Legislation and policymaking involving oxycodone

  • Florida has reduced the availability of illicit Percocet and other oxycodone medications by implementing a prescription drug monitoring program. The state previously had 98 of the top 100 oxycodone prescribers in the country, and now has zero. (source) (source 2)
  • Ohio and Kentucky have passed stricter regulations on pain clinics, causing many illicit “pill mills” to close. These pill mills prescribed excessive amounts of drugs like Percocet to patients, leading to addiction and abuse. (source)

Percocet Effects Quiz question 3
Percocet Withdrawal Treatment
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2007 approximately 20.8 million persons aged 12 or older needed treatment for a substance abuse problem but did not receive help Do not hesitate. Call our trained specialists now at 1-800-943-0566 to discuss different options that may be available to you.

Percocet withdrawal symptoms can occur when a dependence or addiction to Percocet has occurred and the drug is stopped or rapidly tapered. Withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Upset stomach
  • Cold sweats
  • Cravings
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Tremors
  • Agitation
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Seizures

The severity and duration of withdrawal symptoms generally depends upon the severity of the addiction and the level of tolerance and dependence. Generally symptoms peak on the second or third day and subside within a week or two.

Treatment facility admissions for oxycodone vs. all opiates

United States, admissions for treatment, age 12+


All opiates

Percocet Effects Quiz question 4

Percocet addiction treatment is delivered in a wide variety of settings using an array of approaches. Treatment may be conducted in places such as inpatient facilities, outpatient facilities or residential settings. Detox centers and rehab centers focus on recovery and learning new patterns of behavior. Treatment modalities usually include individualized therapy, both in individual and group settings, as well as medication therapy.

Percocet Effects Quiz question 5
What are the Effects of Percocet Abuse?
Addiction is a serious disease that many times is left untreated. It affects every aspect of a person's life and can cause serious medical complications. Addiction can cause work-, home-, school-, and relationships-related problems, leaving a person feeling isolated, helpless or ashamed. When high on Percocet, a person may do or say things he or she normally wouldn't. Percocet addiction is not so much about the amount of drug consumed as it is about the consequences of drug use. If a person is neglecting responsibilities at school, work or home because of drug use, getting into legal trouble such as arrests for disorderly conduct, driving under the influence or stealing to support a drug habit, drug addiction is likely present. Problems in relationships such as fights with family members or friends may also indicate the presence of an addiction.

Percocet Effects Quiz question 6

Common signs of drug addiction include:

  • Tolerance
  • Taking the drug to relieve withdrawal symptoms
  • Loss of control over drug use
  • Spending large amounts of time trying to acquire drugs
  • Feeling like drugs are necessary to perform everyday activities
  • Continued use of drugs despite negative effects
  • Abandoning joyful activities
  • Trying to recreate what the first Percocet high was like

Overcoming addiction is not simply a matter of willpower, and many people cannot do it alone. For more information on how to help someone addicted to Percocet, give us a call.

If you or someone you love is seeking help for Percocet addiction, help is available. Call 1-800-943-0566 to talk to one of our addiction specialists today. Let us help find the right treatment center to meet your unique needs.


Need Help Understanding Your Addiction Treatment Options? Call 1-888-747-7155.