Both immediate-release and long-acting, delayed-release oxycodone formulations are widely used to treat chronic and/or severe pain due to the drug’s potency.
However, oxycodone is a frequent target for prescription drug abuse and tampering, including snorting oxycodone.
In order to insufflate (snort) OxyContin or other oxycodone medications, the tablets first need to be ground down into a very fine powder and divided, usually on a mirror or some other smooth surface.
This powder is then inhaled, often using a straw or rolled-up bill, providing a high dose of the opioid with effects that are felt very quickly and intensely.
Like hydrocodone and other common opioid narcotics, oxycodone is classified as a Schedule II substance by the FDA, meaning that while it plays an important role in modern health care, this drug also carries an extremely high risk for abuse, misuse, diversion, and addiction.
While Oxycodone painkillers can be abused by swallowing, certain people may choose to modify the tablets in order to bypass the drug’s delayed release design, providing a much more intense experience as the full dose is absorbed into the body all at once.
This can be accomplished by injecting, smoking, or snorting oxycodone medications.
Effects Of Snorting Oxycodone
Snorting means that inhaling a dose of oxycodone can provide a much more intense and euphoric high similar to heroin, with pleasurable effects including:
- reduced anxiety
- increased confidence
However, abusing oxycodone in this way comes with severe short and long-term risks or dangers.
Dangers Of Snorting Oxycodone
Unlike legal medications designed for intranasal use, snorting OxyContin and other oxycodone medications can cause severe sinus injuries while increasing your risk of drug overdose, dependence and addiction.
Oxycodone insufflation harms your nasal passages as the powder physically scrapes and cuts the delicate tissues of your nose. Various filler or binder compounds in the tablet can also build up over time.
Long-term effects of snorting oxycodone may include:
- sinus infections
- loss of your sense of smell
- changes in voice
- difficulty speaking
- perforations (holes) in your septum (between your nostrils) or palate (in the rear or top of your mouth)
- changes to your nose and face shape
Any modification that causes a prescription opioid medication to be absorbed more quickly than intended naturally increases your risk of overdose. This includes snorting, shooting, chewing, or smoking prescription narcotics.
Signs of an oxycodone overdose include:
- respiratory depression (slowed, shallow, or stopped breathing)
- low blood pressure
- low body temperature
- slow heartbeats
- nausea and vomiting
- blue-tinted fingers or lips
- pinpoint pupils
Note that drinking alcohol or taking other central nervous system depressants when you use oxycodone or other opioids/opiate drugs dramatically increases the risk and potential severity of overdose.
If you or someone around you experiences an opioid overdose, administer Naloxone if you can and call for immediate medical assistance.
Substance Use Disorder
Misusing oxycodone accelerates the rate at which the body adapts to the drug, resulting in the development of tolerance, physical dependence, and drug addiction.
Common signs of oxycodone addiction include:
- needing to take larger doses over time
- changing your behavior to get more oxycodone in various ways
- spending large amounts of time thinking about the drug, using it, or recovering from it
- risky drug use, including driving under the influence or mixing oxycodone with alcohol
- declining mental health (mood swings, outbursts, anxiety, depression, memory issues)
- social or relational withdrawal and worsening quality of life
- experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop using oxycodone
- being unable to stop taking oxycodone even if you want to
Oxycodone Addiction Treatment
You can find effective and affordable care for substance use disorders, including oxycodone addiction, in a wide range of inpatient and outpatient settings hosted by licensed and approved treatment providers.
Proven treatment options available to address oxycodone addiction include:
- medical detox
- cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- motivational enhancement therapy (MET)
- medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
- individual counseling
- peer support groups, including Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
- alternative treatments like art, exercise, yoga, or nature therapy
- aftercare programs
If you or a loved one live with substance abuse and addiction, please contact Northeast Addictions Treatment Center today.
Northeast Addition Editorial Team
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This page does not provide medical advice.