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Mixing Xanax and Oxycodone

mixing xanax and oxycodone

Mixing Xanax and Oxycodone, Effects, Dangers, Withdrawal, Overdose & Polysubstance Abuse Treatment

What is Xanax? Mixing Xanax and Oxycodone

Xanax, a brand name for alprazolam, is a powerful benzodiazepine that is only recommended for use for up to six weeks. Despite that, American physicians continue to refill prescriptions at often alarming rates. As a result, the number of people seeking treatment for primary benzo addictions continues to rise — from 6,929 in 2002 to 17,019 a decade later in 2012, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Some people who are dependent on Xanax never abused drugs before. They were suffering from anxiety and looking to the medical field for support and relief. They started using Xanax and felt a vast improvement in symptoms. Some then assumed more of the drug would produce an even greater effect, so they misused it in larger doses. Others just use it for too long, and often with a doctor’s permission. They don’t realize they’re addicted to it until it’s too late.

Some people may try to decrease their dose and they experience Xanax withdrawal symptoms that mirror their initial anxiety. They assume they cannot cope without the drug and keep using or abusing it. Sometimes the anxiety symptoms that resurface are caused by substance-induced symptoms that would otherwise dissipate if the drug abuse stopped.

mixing xanax and oxycodone
Xanax, a brand name for alprazolam, is a powerful benzodiazepine that is only recommended for use for up to six weeks.

Of course, abusers of this drug aren’t limited to those with a prescription in hand. Many are young people who get the drug from friends. College students are especially at risk for dependency since their rate of abuse of these drugs has peaked in recent years. SAMHSA notes those rates are higher among individuals with mental illness, too, touting 31.6 percent of college students who abused prescription drugs in 2010 had a mental health disorder, compared to 15 percent of those who did not have a mental health disorder.

Addiction is present in teens as well, with two-thirds who abuse prescription drugs noting that it’s easy to get their hands on prescription drugs – either from family members or from friends at school. This presents a concern for the long-term health of future generations who may be damaging their brains and bodies from a very young age.

What is Oxycodone?

Oxycodone is a prescription medication that is used to treat moderate to severe pain. It is a narcotic analgesic, which means that it works by blocking pain signals from the brain. Oxycodone can be habit-forming, and it is important to use it only as directed by your doctor. Misuse of oxycodone can lead to addiction and other serious health problems. If you or someone you know is addicted to oxycodone, seek help right away. There are many treatment options available, and with support, you can overcome addiction and live a healthy life.

About 52 million Americans older than 12 have used prescription medications nonmedically at some point in their lives. Many become addicted to prescription meds, and that process happens slowly. Some people don’t notice the moment at which they shift from recreational abuse to intense addiction, but when addiction takes hold, it can be serious.

Due to the potential for abuse and addiction with Oxycodone, the drug’s manufacturer, Endo Pharmaceuticals, states in the prescribing information for Percocet that it is normally reserved for those who are tolerant to other opioids or those who haven’t obtained pain relief from other sources.

An individual can overdose on Oxycodone if the drug is taken more often than prescribed, if tablets are crushed or chewed, or if it is combined with other sedatives, such as alcohol or sleeping pills. Overdose is considered a medical emergency. Without prompt treatment, serious health effects and even death can occur.

Long-term oxycodone drug addiction impacts negatively an individual’s long-term health, as well as their psychological and emotional wellbeing. Thankfully, comprehensive addiction treatment can help individuals safely withdraw from this prescription drug and stop the abuse of all substances.

Mixing Xanax and Oxycodone

Mixing Xanax and oxycodone (brand name OxyContin) can lead to severe respiratory depression, long-term substance use disorders, and even death. Xanax is a benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety disorders and panic disorders. Oxycodone is an opioid painkiller used to treat forms of chronic pain and severe pain. Both drugs see widespread use, both as directed and as targets for substance abuse.

In the United States, prescription opioids and benzodiazepines have “black box” labels which warn mixing the two substances can be fatal. A black box warning is reserved for prescription drugs with serious health risks.

Effects Of Mixing Xanax & Oxycodone

Mixing Xanax and Oxycodone may be an intense way of getting “high.” The combined effects of benzodiazepines and opioids may be linked to specific receptors in the central nervous system (CNS).

mixing xanax and oxycodone
Mixing Xanax and oxycodone (brand name OxyContin) can lead to severe respiratory depression, long-term substance use disorders, and even death.

Side effects that are linked to this stronger high may include:

  • Impairment
  • Sedation
  • Numbness
  • Dizziness
  • Pain relief
  • Drowsiness

Dangers Of Mixing Xanax & Oxycodone

The black box warning on Xanax labels warns that taking benzodiazepines and opioids together can be fatal. Along with this life-threatening interaction, Xanax and OxyContin can cause other health effects.

Risk Of Drug Overdose

The additive depressant effects of alprazolam and oxycodone can make their effects much stronger. The threshold to overdose may also be much lower. An opioid overdose likely includes respiratory depression (severely slowed breathing) and unresponsiveness and can be fatal.

In 2017, benzos were involved in over 33 percent of prescription opioid overdose deaths. While synthetic opioids like fentanyl are growing points of concern, prescription opioids (like oxycodone or hydrocodone) still see large overdose numbers every year. The high involvement of benzodiazepines in prescription opioid overdose deaths suggests both substances are easy to access and abuse.

Memory Problems

Opioid analgesics and benzodiazepines are both linked to memory problems as long-term side effects.  Opioid abuse can cause persistent problems with attention, while some studies link benzodiazepines to a higher risk of dementia later on in life. Both drugs are linked to forms of amnesia. How opioids and benzodiazepines can lead to memory problems may need further study. Taking both substances responsibly can reduce your risk of long-term memory impairment.

Abuse of Opiates and Benzos

Opioid painkillers and benzodiazepines are two of the most frequently abused prescription drugs in the world, although they are frequently prescribed together. Medical researchers have been concerned about this combination since the 1970s when the trend began to surface. A report from the Drug Abuse Warning Network shows that combining opioid medications and benzodiazepines increases the risk of overdose leading to emergency medical care.

Another report published in the British Medical Journal suggests that, while some of these emergency room visits involve prescribing practices that accidentally mix benzodiazepines and opioids in dangerous quantities, some patients take more of these drugs than prescribed, or they get a “high” off taking higher doses than prescribed of both medications. They noted that benzodiazepines enhanced the effects of opioid painkillers, which means this drug combination has a high potential for abuse.

mixing xanax and oxycodone
For people who struggle with an addiction to prescription painkillers, benzodiazepines, or both, comprehensive addiction rehabilitation can help.

The BMJ study found that, of 2,400 veterans in the study’s population who died because of a drug overdose while taking opioid painkiller prescriptions, 49 percent had been concurrently prescribed benzodiazepines. While some of these individuals may have been abusing opioid painkillers and benzodiazepines to create a high, an article published in the Washington Post suggests that people who abuse these two medications together must be exposed to this combination in the first place, and that is typically through their doctors’ prescribing practices.

People who suffer acute or chronic pain, for example, may receive opioids like Vicodin to treat the pain on a long-term basis, while also receiving a prescription for Valium to treat muscle spasms. Or, if individuals suffer from anxiety, they may receive a Xanax prescription from their therapist, while also receiving oxycodone to treat chronic pain. In February 2016, lawmakers and regulators began pushing the Food and Drug Administration to issue a black box warning on both prescription opioid painkillers and benzodiazepines about mixing these two medication types.

Polysubstance Dependent Treatment

If a person overdoses on benzodiazepines like Xanax or Valium, painkillers like Vicodin or oxycodone, or a combination of these medications, it is important to get emergency medical help as soon as possible. Call 911, and stay with the person until help arrives.

For people who struggle with an addiction to prescription painkillers, benzodiazepines, or both, comprehensive addiction rehabilitation can help. With adequate care, people can overcome their addictions and avoid overdose.

Treatment options for addiction include:

Reclaim Your Life From Polysubstance Abuse

Mixing Xanax and oxycodone can lead to severe respiratory depression, long-term substance use disorders, and even death. We Level Up rehab & detox center can provide you, or someone you love, the tools to recover from polysubstance addiction with professional and safe treatment. Feel free to call us to speak with one of our counselors. We can inform you about this condition by giving you relevant information. Our specialists know what you are going through. Please know that each call is private and confidential.


[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Prescription Opioid and Benzodiazepine Medications and Occupational Safety and health information for Employers and Healthcare Providers.

[2] Food and Drug Administration – OxyContin (oxycodone hydrochloride)

[3] Food and Drug Administration – XANAX Label

[4] National Institute on Drug Abuse – Benzodiazepines and Opioids

[5] National Library of Medicine: PubMed Central – Polydrug abuse: A review of opioid and benzodiazepine combination use