Narcotic Fact Sheet

Narcotic Fact Sheet

Prescription opioids are some of the most commonly abused substances in America. These opioids work by binding with opioid receptors in the brain. They bind to the same receptors that the bodies’ natural painkillers bind to. After prolonged opiate use, the body stops producing natural painkillers, resulting in opiate dependency. Opiates are such powerful narcotics that the body can become dependent on them even when they prescribed by a physician for the treatment of pain and are taken in the prescribed dosage.

Narcotic Fact Sheet: Vicodin, Lortab, and Lorcet

Vicodin, Lortab, and Lorcet are all brand names for the combination drug containing hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Hydrocodone is a semi-synthetic opiate. Usually, it is combined with non-opioid painkillers like acetaminophen to discourage recreational use and to increase the painkilling effects.  Hydrocodone is also a cough suppressant, so it is used in many prescription cough medications.

While additives such as acetaminophen are added to hydrocodone products in part to discourage illicit use, the danger is that people who do abuse hydrocodone products may not be aware that they are taking high levels of acetaminophen. This can be very dangerous, and in many cases, long term hydrocodone abuse can cause liver problems because these drugs are toxic in high doses, and can even be fatal.

Another reason that hydrocodone is less likely to be abused than drugs like pure oxycodone, is that the metabolism of hydrocodone prevents it from alternate routes of administration like snorting and injection. This is because the main painkilling effect of hydrocodone use comes from its conversion to the much stronger opioid hydromorphone in the liver. When the drug is snorted or injected, it bypasses this metabolic process, so it actually results in a less strong effect. Also, because hydrocodone users must separate the hydrocodone from the acetaminophen additives before injecting it, some of the hydrocodone is lost in the process. Hydrocodone is also only about half as strong as oral oxycodone.

Narcotic Fact Sheet: Percocet

Percocet is the brand name of the combination drug containing oxycodone and acetaminophen. As with the hydrocodone combination products, acetaminophen is added to oxycodone to both potentiate the painkilling effects and to discourage abuse. Percocet comes in doses of 10/325 (10 mg of oxycodone and 325 mg of acetaminophen) or 5/325 (5mg of oxycodone and 325 mg of acetaminophen).Percocet is an oral medication.

Oxycodone is a powerful analgesic synthesized from thebaine, which is derived from the opium plant. It was developed in Germany in 1916 as an alternative to heroin, which had been outlawed a couple years prior. It was hoped that oxycodone would have the analgesic (pain-killing) power of heroin without the dependence issues. However, since its inception, oxycodone has been subject to abuse.

Narcotic Fact Sheet: Roxicodone

Roxicodone is the brand name of a drug that contains pure oxycodone; it does not contain ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or aspirin, like other oxycodone-containing products (i.e. Percodan, Percocet, and Tylox).Roxicodone pills generally come in 15 or 30 mg doses. It is an immediate release form of oxycodone, unlike the time-release form of the drug: OxyContin. Because it is pure immediate release, pure oxycodone, the potential for abuse of oxycodone is very high.

Can you snort Percocet?

Can you snort Percocet?
Can you snort Percocet?

Can you snort Percocet?

Percocet is a narcotic pain medication. It is oxycodone (an opioid) and acetaminophen (Tylenol). Percocet comes in doses of 10/325 (10 mg of oxycodone and 325 mg of acetaminophen) or 5/325 (5mg of oxycodone and 325 mg of acetaminophen).Percocet is an oral medication. People want to know if you can snort Percocet when they are using it illicitly.

Different routes of administration (e.g. swallowing, snorting, injecting) result in different bioavailability for different drugs. Bioavailability of drugs refers to the amount of drug that actually reaches systemic circulation unchanged or in its active form. People who want to snort Percocet often do so in the hopes that the bioavailability (and thus the effect) of Percocet will be stronger.

In general, nasal insufflation (snorting) causes a faster onset then other routes of administration, and the bioavailability of drugs is usually (but not always) higher than oral administration. This bioavailability occurs due to the quick absorption of the drug into the bloodstream through the soft tissue in the sinus cavity. Nasal absorption of oxycodone is not great, so the bioavailability of oxycodone is actually higher if you swallow it than if you snort it. Oxycodone does, however, have a faster onset if you snort it.

However, Percocet is not pure oxycodone. It also contains acetaminophen. This causes a problem in two ways. When you snort Percocet, the acetaminophen often coats the inside of the nose, and it doesn’t allow the oxycodone to be absorbed through the nasal cavity. Remember, a pill of Percocet is mostly acetaminophen. The nose can only absorb so much powder. So you often lose the advantage of insufflation (in this case, a faster onset) if you snort Percocet.

The second problem when you snort Percocet is that acetaminophen can be very damaging to the nasal passages. It burns when you snort it and it is caustic to the delicate tissue that lines the nose. Not only does this cause pain, and over time it causes damage and erosion, it can also prevent the oxycodone from being absorbed through the nasal passages. Acetaminophen constricts blood vessels, so they are less absorptive.

If you do decide to snort Percocet, despite the fact that it is not the ideal drug for snorting, do not share snorting instruments. Sharing a tube or straw between two people can spread diseases like Hepatitis C.

Also note that when you snort Percocet, it is a form of abuse, and abuse can quickly lead to dependence and addiction with opioids like oxycodone. Opioids are a highly addictive class of drugs. Once your body becomes dependent, withdrawal can be excruciating.

If you snort or swallow Percocet (or take it in any other way) do not take it with alcohol or other CNS depressants. Opioids like Percocet cause depressed respiration, and when you take it with other depressants (Like benzos, alcohol, sedatives, or barbiturates), you potentiate this effect, and it can very easily lead to coma and possibly death. Overdose due to prescription drugs is very common, and opioids are almost always involved.