Percocet is a prescription painkiller that contains a combination of oxycodone (a semi-synthetic opiate) and acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol). Percocet provides relief for moderate to severe pain and lasts up to 3 to 5 hours depending on the formulation. OxyContin, another oxycodone-based painkiller can provide relief up to 12 hours, due to its time-release properties.
Percocet Abuse and Addiction
Percocet is a strong pain reliever most often prescribed for intense, short-term pain felt after surgery or trauma, but it is also sometimes used for patients with severe chronic pain. Percocet is often seen as a safer way to get high because it is legal to purchase (it is available with a prescription).
However, Percocet is still widely abused for its narcotic effect. A high enough dose can result in a sense of euphoria similar to that experienced by heroin users. Abuse of Percocet can lead to addiction to Percocet or to something harder.
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Effects of a Percocet Addiction
Like other opiates, Percocet runs a high risk for users to develop a tolerance and then dependency on the drug.
- Seeking out drug dealers
- Using a fake prescription
- Seeing multiple doctors
Because of the oxycodone in Percocet, there are numerous potential side effects tied to abuse of the drug. The most commonly recorded physical side effects of Percocet include:
- Abdominal pain
- Memory loss
Emergency room visits involving painkillers (including Percocet), increased by 152% between 2004 and 2008.
Prescription opioids are the most common substance involved in drug-related medical emergencies. In 2013, 46% of drug-related medical emergencies involved opioids.
Of the estimated 78,000 worldwide deaths in 2010 due to illegal drug use, more than half were because of painkiller addictions.
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As with any opiate addiction, treating a Percocet addiction can be difficult—but there are many options. Percocet rehabilitation is similar to that for other prescription opiates, such as OxyContin or morphine.
The most effective known treatment includes a medical detox, inpatient treatment, and follow up with long-term support.
The detox is often the most physically difficult step in the process, as withdrawal symptoms from Percocet can be intense. Many recovering addicts cite muscle aches and insomnia as the most difficult symptoms they face. Undergoing detox with a medical professional can help ease the process. Pharmaceutical aids such as Clonidine and Buprenorphine may be used in conjunction with therapy to help wean an addict off of Percocet.
Once a former addict is ready to reintegrate into society, he or she can find continuing support groups through outpatient treatment at one of the many successful treatment centers across the country.
Take control of your addiction. There’s never been a better time to get started. Contact a dedicated treatment provider now for more information about rehab for a Percocet addiction.