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Snorting Oxycodone

Risks of Snorting Oxycodone Can You Snort Oxycodone? Why Do People Snort Oxycodone? Is Snorting Oxycodone Dangerous? 

What is Oxycodone?

Oxycodone is a common opioid pain killer sold under the brand name OxyContin, among others. However, it can cause physical dependence and addiction. It is a narcotic prescribed for moderate to severe pain and is sometimes formulated in combination with acetaminophen (Percocet) or aspirin (Percodan). The extremely addictive nature of oxycodone and other opioids has created an epidemic of opioid overdoses and deaths across the US. In 2019, nearly 50,000 people in the United States died from opioid overdoses [1]. The CDC currently estimates more than 1000 emergency department visits daily related to the misuse of opioids and about 91 opioid overdose deaths every day.

Oxycodone is abused orally or intravenously. The tablets are crushed and sniffed or dissolved in water and injected. Others heat a tablet that has been placed on a piece of foil and then inhale the vapors. Oxycodone products are in Schedule II of the Controlled Substances Act, meaning they had medical use and a high potential for addiction [2]. Euphoria and feelings of relaxation are the most common effects of oxycodone on the brain, which explains its high potential for abuse.

Snorting Oxycodone
 Oxycodone is addictive. In fact, oxycodone addiction potential is high, even for people who start taking oxycodone as prescribed

Oxycodone has been in use since its first synthesis in 1917 but was formally approved for use in the United States in 1991. Since then, it has become one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in medical practice. Side effects of oxycodone include sedation, respiratory depression, mental clouding, euphoria, agitation, itching, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal bloating, nausea, vomiting, headache, and dizziness. Severe adverse events include life-threatening respiratory depression, addiction, abuse, opioid withdrawal, serotonin syndrome (when used with serotonergic agents), and adrenal insufficiency.

Oxycodone is a controlled substance and classified as a Schedule II drug, indicating that it has medical usefulness, but also a high potential for physical and psychological dependency and abuse. Unfortunately, oxycodone has become one of the most frequently abused prescription medications and some formulations can be snorted, dissolved, and injected intravenously. With oxycodone dependence, patients may turn to illegal opiate drug use. Ironically, in some communities, heroin is more available and less expensive than oxycodone by prescription. Tamper deterrent formulations have now become available.

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Can You Snort Oxycodone?

Common prescription drugs used for the treatment of pain, such as Percodan, Percocet, Roxicet, and OxyContin, now contain varying levels of Oxycodone. Individuals who abuse these drugs crush them up into powder form and snort through the nose. This mode of administration is also referred to as nasal insufflation. Snorting oxycodone fast tracks the effects of the narcotic on the central nervous system (CNS), which results in the strong effect that users seek.

Why Do People Snort Oxycodone?

As an opioid drug, Oxycodone is only available for the treatment of pain with a prescription. Is Oxycodone addictive? Yes, it is, and the addiction can develop with prescription use as well. People who use the drug may quickly build up a tolerance. When a tolerance has been built, the drug dosage the person usually takes no longer has the desired effect. So the person using Oxycodone will often have to keep taking more and more of the drug in order to feel high.

Oxycodone addiction can happen quickly. When in pill form. Oxycodone 5mg is not enough to achieve the desired effect. As a result, higher doses of opioids are required. Tolerance negatively affects treatment regimens as well. If taken more often than prescribed, crushed up and snorted, or injected in liquid form, the time-release mechanism is broken down. Abusing the drug-using any of these methods greatly increases the likelihood of developing an addiction.

Snorting Oxycodone
Just because a doctor prescribes a pill doesn’t mean that it’s safe for everyone. 

How to Snort Oxycodone?

When crushed and snorted, the time to maximum concentration was between 52 and 65 minutes.  It means that the health effects of the full dosage will hit the individual more intensely. Snorting oxycodone has a number of health consequences. You can damage your respiratory system, making it difficult for you to breathe normally. The nasal membranes are extremely delicate and can be easily damaged.

As these get damaged, they stop working normally, affecting the normal respiratory actions. Other side effects of snorting oxycodone include constipation, vomiting, shakiness, dizziness, and increased heart rate. Among the long-term health effects of snorting oxycodone are the loss of smell, nosebleeds, frequent runny nose, and problems with swallowing

What Happens If You Snort Oxycodone?

Snorting oxycodone is dangerous. There is no way you can predict the effects of snorting oxycodone on the body. When you snort this opioid pain medication, you have an unregulated amount of oxycodone in the body. It’s unfiltered and concentrated. Because your body is trying to compensate for such high doses of oxycodone, you run a big risk of overdose and potential death.

The problem with snorting oxycodone is that the nose is not evolved to process that many particles, and over time the mucous membrane wears down. Perforation of the nasal septum (the bridge that holds up the nose physically), nose bleeds, chest infections, and inflammation may result. Some individuals go on to lose their sense of smell, and even the nose itself can eventually collapse.

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The Risks of Snorting Oxycodone 

Snorting oxycodone increases the risk of addiction since crushing and snorting oxycodone elicits more heightened effects and an intensely rewarding sensation that reinforces continued use. Signs that an individual is addicted to oxycodone may include:

  • Unsuccessfully trying to cut down.
  • Taking larger amounts of oxycodone over time.
  • Craving oxycodone.
  • Spending a long time acquiring, taking, or recovering from oxycodone.
  • Using oxy in hazardous situations.
  • Inability to carry out obligations at home, work, or school.
  • Continuing to use oxy despite relationship problems.
  • Suffering from withdrawal symptoms in the absence of oxycodone.
  • Needing larger amounts of oxy to achieve the desired effects.
  • Continuing to use in spite of physical or psychological problems.
  • Giving up activities that were once important in favor of obtaining and using oxycodone.

Other signs you may have noticed in a loved one who is snorting oxycodone include:

  • Nasal problems or damage.
  • Frequent sniffling.
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia like straws and empty prescription bottles.

Admitting that you or a loved one is suffering from oxycodone addiction can be difficult. Fortunately, treatment programs and recovery groups are available to help.

Is Snorting Oxycodone Dangerous? 

Overdose is an immediate risk for anyone snorting Oxycodone. Taking more than the intended dose of oxycodone even once can result in severe respiratory depression, where breathing slows down or stops completely. You are more likely to overdose on oxycodone if you:

  • Snort the drug or take it in other ways different from that which is prescribed.
  • Take more of the drug than prescribed.
  • Mix the drug with alcohol or other sedatives.
Snorting Oxycodone
Snorting Oxycodone predisposes to bleeding nasal mucosa, which can contaminate any paraphernalia which is used and shared.

Symptoms of an oxycodone overdose include:

  • Markedly constricted pupils
  • Stomach spasms
  • Bluish tint to the fingernails and lips
  • Uncontrollable vomiting
  • Severe respiratory depression or complete inability to breathe
  • Seizure
  • Dangerously low blood pressure and decreased pulse rate
  • Extreme drowsiness and/or loss of consciousness
  • Coma

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Oxycodone Addiction Treatment 

First and foremost, if you think that a loved one is snorting oxycodone like the counterfeit yellow Percocet, you should first research the drug and addiction associated with it so that you can better understand what your loved one needs. Next, you must plan an intervention to provide your loved ones with options to battle their addiction in a safe and supportive environment. During this intervention, make sure that you offer compassion and support instead of judgment. Lastly, offer your support throughout the entire treatment process.

In addition, prolonged Percocet abuse can have severe physical and psychological effects, so it is essential to seek treatment as soon as possible. Inpatient drug rehab offers intensive care that can help you get through the early stages of withdrawal promptly. 

Medically-Assisted Detox

Medical detox is often considered the first stage of treatment. It will help you navigate the complicated process of withdrawal, but it doesn’t address patterns of thought and behavior that contribute to drug use. Various treatment approaches and settings can help provide the ongoing support necessary to maintain long-term sobriety after you complete detox.

Cravings are very common during detox and can be challenging to overcome. This often leads to relapse. Constant medical care provided during inpatient drug rehab helps prevent relapse. Clinicians can provide necessary medication and medical expertise to lessen cravings and the effects of withdrawals.


Several different modalities of psychotherapy have been used in the treatment of mental health disorders along with addiction, including:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – is an effective treatment that involves making changes in both the patterns of negative thoughts and the behavioral routines which are affecting the daily life of the depressed person for various forms of depression.
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy – is a comprehensive mental health and substance abuse treatment program whose ultimate goal is to aid patients in their efforts to build a life worth living. The main goal of DBT is to help a person develop what is referred to as a “clear mind.” 
  • Person-Centered Therapy – is a strategy that allows and encourages clients to understand and resolve their concerns in a safe, supportive environment.
  • Solution Focused Therapy – is an approach interested in solutions that can be quickly implemented with a simple first step leading to further positive consequences.

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Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Drug abuse and mental health disorders often co-occur. In many cases, traumatic experiences can result in a mental health disorder and substance abuse. Dual diagnosis rehabilitation treats both of these issues together. The best approach for the treatment of dual diagnosis is an integrated system. In this strategy, both the substance abuse problem and the mental disorder are treated simultaneously. Regardless of which diagnosis (mental health or substance abuse problem) came first, long-term recovery will depend largely on the treatment for both disorders done by the same team or provider.

Medication-Assisted Treatments

Medication-Assisted Treatments (MAT) for substance use disorders and mental health disorders are commonly used in conjunction with one another. This includes the use of medications and other medical procedures. During your rehab, the staff from your treatment facility will help you identify what caused your addiction and teach you skills that will help you change your behavior patterns and challenge the negative thoughts that led to your addiction. Sometimes, the pressures and problems in your life lead you to rely on substances to help you forget about them momentarily.

Please, do not try to detox on your own. The detox process can be painful and difficult without medical assistance. However, getting through the detox process is crucial for continued treatment. We Level Up provide proper care with round-the-clock medical staff to medically assist your recovery. So, reclaim your life, and call us to speak with one of our treatment specialists. Our counselors know what you are going through and will answer any of your questions.

Snorting Oxycodone
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[1] NCBI –
[2] DEA –
[3] Is Oxycodone Addictive? – We Level Up NJ