Many individuals who suffer from chronic pain have been prescribed oxycodone, a prescription drug that is meant to alleviate pain. While oxycodone is an effective painkiller, some individuals turn to alternative methods to feel a more intense effect of the drug. One of the most common methods is snorting oxycodone. This practice poses significant dangers to the overall well-being of individuals, and it’s important to understand these dangers.

This guide will answer any questions regarding the dangers of snorting oxycodone, how people use oxycodone, the differing effects of methods of use, and treatment options for oxycodone addiction.

oxycodone prescription

What is Oxycodone?

Oxycodone, also known as OxyContin, is a type of pain medication derived from opium. It is classified as a Schedule II substance by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) due to its potential for abuse. While oxycodone can effectively treat various types of pain, it is important to be aware of the risks associated with its use.

How Do People Use Oxycodone?

Oxycodone works as a narcotic analgesic, meaning it affects how your body senses and responds to pain. It comes in different forms, such as an oral solution, capsules, and tablets, with varying strengths. Additionally, there are immediate-release and extended-release options available for different needs and durations of pain relief.

Oxycodone is typically taken orally in the form of tablets, capsules, or liquid solutions. However, many individuals misuse or abuse oxycodone and use alternative methods of administration. These alternative ways of using oxycodone are:

  • Oral Administration: The most common and intended method of taking oxycodone is oral administration. This involves swallowing the pill or capsule with water. The medication is designed to be slowly released into the body, providing controlled and extended pain relief.
  • Snorting: Some individuals crush oxycodone tablets into a fine powder and then inhale it through the nose. This method bypasses the time-release mechanism, delivering an intense and immediate high. However, snorting oxycodone carries significant risks and can lead to various health complications.
  • Injection: In cases of severe opioid addiction, individuals may dissolve oxycodone tablets or powder in liquid and inject it directly into their bloodstream. Intravenous injection of oxycodone delivers a rapid and intense high, but it poses even greater risks of overdose, infections, and damage to veins and organs.
man snorting pills on a table with a syringe on the table

Why Do People Snort Oxycodone?

Oxycodone is commonly snorted due to the concentrated and potent high that it gives users. As individuals who regularly take oxycodone begin to develop a tolerance to the drug, it requires an increasing amount for the same effects. A study conducted in 2018 found that 52% of people who misuse oxycodone choose to administer it intranasally. Individuals who snort oxycodone often prefer this method because the rapid release produces enhanced and immediate feelings of euphoria. However, this uncontrolled absorption is highly dangerous and can lead to overdose and even death. Before deciding to snort oxycodone, it’s essential to understand the dangers and risks associated with it.

Dangers of Snorting Oxycodone

Snorting oxycodone poses significant dangers and risks to an individual’s health. While oxycodone is a potent opioid prescribed for pain management, snorting it bypasses the intended route of administration and can have serious consequences. Some of the dangers and effects of snorting oxycodone can include:

  • Nasal and Respiratory Damage: Snorting oxycodone can cause severe damage to the nasal passages and respiratory system. The finely crushed particles can irritate and inflame the delicate tissues lining the nose, leading to nasal congestion, nosebleeds, chronic runny nose, and sinus infections. Prolonged snorting can also damage the nasal septum, resulting in a deviated septum or perforation.
  • Increased Risk of Infections: The nasal passages are naturally equipped with defense mechanisms to filter out harmful particles and pathogens. By snorting oxycodone, these protective mechanisms are compromised, increasing the risk of respiratory infections such as pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinusitis. Sharing snorting paraphernalia can further expose individuals to bloodborne viruses like Hepatitis C and HIV.
  • Central Nervous System Effects: Snorting oxycodone delivers a rapid and intense high by bypassing the time-release mechanism of extended-release formulations. However, this method of administration also intensifies the effects on the central nervous system. The immediate rush can lead to a higher risk of overdose, respiratory depression, and even coma.

Does Snorting Oxycodone Have Different Effects Than Proper Use?

To answer the question: Yes, snorting oxycodone does have different effects compared to its proper oral use. Snorting oxycodone bypasses the intended route of administration, altering how the drug is absorbed into the body and leading to distinct pharmacological effects.

Snorting oxycodone leads to a faster onset and more intense high due to rapid absorption through the nasal mucosa, while oral ingestion has a slower onset as the drug is metabolized in the gastrointestinal system. Snorting also results in a shorter duration of effects compared to oral use. Additionally, snorting oxycodone increases the risk of overdose due to the concentrated dose delivered all at once, bypassing the time-release mechanism of extended-release formulations and potentially leading to respiratory depression and even death.

woman looking high while touching pills

Treatment Options for Oxycodone Addiction

If an individual finds themselves snorting oxycodone to get a more intense high, they may have developed an opioid addiction, specifically to oxycodone. Once an individual has recognized this addiction, it’s vital to receive treatment as soon as possible to begin the recovery process. This process looks different for everyone depending on the needs of the individual. However, there are a few common treatment options utilized in treating oxycodone addiction. These options are:

  • Medical Detox: Medical detox is the first step in treating oxycodone addiction and involves utilizing medically-supervised detoxification to safely withdraw from oxycodone use. Medical detox allows medical professionals to closely monitor individuals and provide medications to manage withdrawal symptoms and ensure their safety and comfort.
  • Therapy Sessions: After receiving medical detox, many individuals will continue treatment at an inpatient or outpatient treatment center. This treatment will consist of various therapy sessions to identify unhealthy patterns of thinking and behavior, develop coping skills, and enhance motivation to change. These therapies can range from cognitive-behavioral therapy sessions to art therapy, depending on the needs of the individual.
  • Aftercare Support: Once successfully completing treatment at a treatment center, individuals can utilize support groups as a valuable source of ongoing support for recovery. These groups, which include support groups like Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), offer a safe space to share experiences, receive encouragement, and learn from others facing similar challenges.

Opioid Use Disorder Treatment at Knoxville Recovery Center

Snorting oxycodone is a sign of a developing oxycodone addiction and can further develop into an opioid use disorder. Once an individual has begun drug abuse, it can be difficult to stop them from continuing down that path. However, there is treatment available and professionals who can provide the support and care needed.

At Knoxville Recovery Center, we provide addiction treatment services at every step in the recovery journey. We offer the first step in recovery, medical detox, followed by our comprehensive addiction treatment sessions and finished with our continuous support through our aftercare services. We also offer a therapeutic nutrition program to continue teaching the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. With these treatment options, our clients not only heal from addiction but learn how to live a sober, healthy, and happier life.

If you or a loved one are suffering from drug addiction or a substance use disorder, contact us today to learn more about our programs. Knoxville Recovery is here to help you thrive.

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