Snorting Percocet

Is snorting Percocet effective vs taking Percocet orally? Can snorting Percocet get you high? What dangers are present and can they be avoided? More on snorting Percocet effects here.

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If you’re thinking about snorting Percocet, know what you are getting into.

Can you get high on Percocet?  Yes.  And does Percocet show up on drug tests?  Yes.  Percocet can also be very addictive, especially when you snort it.   Here we review what happens in the body while snorting Percocet, as well as the dangers and safety concerns of snorting Percs.  We invite your questions about using Percocet at the end, and try to answer all legitimate questions with a personal reply ASAP.

Percocet: What are you really snorting?

Each Percocet tablet contains the active ingredients oxycodone hydrochloride and acetaminophen. Oxycodone is a powerful opioid pain reliever, and Percocet is medically used for the relief of moderate to moderately severe pain. However, other non-active ingredients are also present in Percocet. These include colloidal silicon dioxide, croscarmellose sodium, crospovidone, microcrystalline cellulose, povidone, pregelatinized cornstarch, stearic acid, and possible coloring additives.

How does snorting Percocet affect the body?

Percocet onset depends upon how you take it.  Crushing and snorting Percocet results in a rapid release of oxycodone, increased absorption of the drug in the body, and high peak serum concentrations of oxycodone in the blood.  So what really happens when you snort Percocet?

When you crush Percocet tablets and snort the resulting powder into your nose, oxycodone is rapidly released into the bloodstream. When oxycodone passes the blood-brain barrier, it acts on the brain and body by attaching to specific cell surface proteins called opioid receptors. Once oxycodone is attached to opioid receptors, it can block the perception of pain. This same chemical reaction can also get you high. But there is a problem: When snorting Percocet, you expose yourself to high and near-instant doses of oxycodone, increasing risk of overdose and serious adverse side effects.

Snorting Percocet to get high

How does Percocet get you high? The oxycodone found in Percocet can induce euphoria (feeling high or an extreme sense of well-being) by indirectly boosting dopamine levels in the brain regions that influence your perception of pleasure. This feeling is often intensified when snorting Percocet. When you snort Percocet, you can intensify and amplify the feeling of getting high but you also increase the risk for serious medical consequences, such as respiratory arrest, coma, and addiction.

Snorting Percocet side effects

Taking Percocet as prescribed can trigger side effects such as dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, sedation and/or vomiting. But when you start snorting Percocet, possible serious side effects can occur. Some of the serious side effects of insufflating Percocet include:

  • abnormally slow heart rate
  • cardiac arrest
  • cold and clammy skin
  • constriction or dilation of the eye pupils
  • death
  • extreme somnolence progressing to stupor or coma
  • muscular flaccidity
  • respiratory depression

Snorting Percocet vs oral

Opioids like Percocet can be absorbed in the body via many routes. Doctors recommend oral Percocet for safety and effectiveness. Oxycodone has a relatively high bioavailability (about 60% to 87% of an oral dose of oxycodone reaches the systemic circulation) and duration of action persists in Percocet for 3-6 hours. But what is the difference between taking Percocet orally versus inhaling it into the nasal passage?

The main difference between taking Percocet orally versus snorting Percocet is onset of action. After oral administration of conventional preparations of oxycodone, analgesic effect occurs within 10-15 minutes, reaches its maximum in 30-60 minutes. On the other hand, when you snort Percocet, you rapidly achieve high serum levels of Percocet in the blood. Pain relief (and euphoric effect) is almost immediate. But a quick Percocet high also places you at risk for severe toxicity.

Snorting Percocet dangers

Percocet contains the narcotic oxycodone. Before you decide to snort Percocet, consider the following risks and dangers that come along with snorting oxycodone. And feel free to add more dangers at the end of this article.

Risk of accident – Percocet can impair your ability to drive a car or operate machinery. Snorting Percocet can quickly dull your alertness, and activities that require quick action should be avoided.

Risk of addiction – One of the real dangers of snorting Percocet is risk of addiction. Even if taken as prescribed, Percocet can cause physical and psychological dependence when taken for a long time. But when you are snorting Percocet for effect, you increase risk of addiction.

Risk of damage to nasal passages – Chronically snorting Percocet can lead to nasal damage and difficulty swallowing.

Risk of damage to unborn babies – Taking Percocet during pregnancy can cause physical addiction for a newborn baby. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, know that taking Percocet shortly before delivery (especially at higher dosages) may cause some degree of impaired breathing in either the mother or the newborn, or both, as well as withdrawal syndrome after birth.

Risk of disease – Sharing straws or other objects to inhale Percocet into your nose can lead to serious diseases such as hepatitis or bacterial infections.

Risk of overdose – When you snort Percocet, you put yourself at risk of depressing the central nervous system to the point where respiration or heart failure can occur.

Snorting Percocet safely

Snorting Percocet is not safe or recommended. However, you may minimize risk of Percocet dangers by taking a few precautions. Know first that the maximum daily dose recommended for prescribed Percocet is 60 mg. The usual prescribed dose of Percocet is 1 to 2 tablets of the lowest strength (2.5 milligrams oxycodone/325 milligrams acetaminophen) every 6 hours. Doctors sometimes prescribe a higher dose if necessary. However, the total daily dose of acetaminophen should not exceed 4 grams. Secondly, be sure that you are using clean instruments when snorting Percocet. Do not share straws or other objects to snort Percocet. And lastly, have a sober companion monitor your symptoms. These harm reduction strategies may just save your life.

Questions about snorting Percocet

Do you still have questions about snorting Percocet? If so, please let us know. We respond to all Percocet questions with a personal and prompt reply.

Reference Sources: Hazardous Substances Data Bank for oxycodone
Daily Med drug info for Percocet
NIDA Testimony to Congress: Scientific Research on Prescription Drug Abuse
PubMed: OxyContin abuse and overdose
William and Mary Students for Sensible Drug Policy: Harm Reduction and Depressants
NIDA InfoFacts: Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medications
NIDA Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs Chart
Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction in Opioid Treatment Programs. Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 43
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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