Oxycodone cold water extraction, or CWE, is a form of drug tampering where oxycodone is taken out of combination analgesics containing oxycodone, paracetamol, or acetaminophen.
Oxycodone CWE may be done to experience more intense sedation and pain relief due to oxycodone while avoiding high doses of acetaminophen.
Tampering with prescription drugs is illegal, and ingesting tampered drugs is a form of drug abuse. Abusing oxycodone can cause severe side effects such as dependency, opioid use disorder, and other health problems.
How Oxycodone CWE Works
Opioid extraction can be done with oxycodone or hydrocodone products such as Percodan, Vicodin, or Percocet, along with common household items such as coffee filters and cold water.
The drug is crushed and dissolved in cold water, and undergoes filtration by passing through a coffee filter. The process is relatively simple for people who find a “safer” method of oxycodone use appealing.
The extracted oxycodone can be snorted, smoked, or injected after being mixed into a solution. CWE methods claim to extract up to 99%, almost completely removing non-opioids. Some studies suggest CWE may only be about 50% effective, depending on the product used.
Dangers Of Oxycodone Cold Water Extraction
By avoiding high doses of acetaminophen, proponents of CWE argue that you avoid liver damage, toxicity, and other harmful effects of acetaminophen. However, ingesting pure oxycodone can have severe side effects.
Risk Of Overdose
Illicit use of oxycodone can increase your risk of overdose. It can be difficult to tell the amount you are ingesting after extracting the oxycodone. Taking large amounts of oxycodone can lead to an overdose.
Opioid overdoses can cause respiratory depression, a potentially life-threatening state of severely slowed breathing.
An opioid overdose can be reversed if naloxone is given in time.
Opioid Use Disorder
Abusing opioid analgesics can involve taking them in unapproved ways, or taking high amounts of the drug at once. Oxycodone CWE can include both of these factors, increasing your risk of long-term abuse and opioid use disorders, or OUDs.
OUDs may cause dependency, severe cravings, and withdrawal symptoms when trying to quit. They can be difficult to treat without professional help.
Treatment For Opioid Abuse
Oxycodone is one of many opioids that can be tampered with through cold water extraction.
Over-the-counter products and prescription painkillers containing codeine, hydrocodone, and other opioids can also be targets for CWE. CWE with any substance is a form of substance abuse.
People suffering from long-term opioid abuse may benefit from a professional treatment program. Treating opioid abuse may involve a detox period, using medication such as methadone and buprenorphine, and behavioral therapy.
To find an opioid addiction treatment program that works for you or your loved one, please reach out to Northeast Addictions Treatment Center today.
- Harm Reduction Journal — Identification of factors influencing tampering of codeine-containing medicines in England: a qualitative study
- National Institute on Drug Abuse — Prescription Opioids DrugFacts
- National Library of Medicine: PubMed — Cold water extraction of codeine/paracetamol combination products: a case series and literature review
- National Library of Medicine: PubMed — Internet pseudoscience: Testing opioid containing formulations with tampering potential
Northeast Addition Editorial Team
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