Physicians prescribe Percocet to relieve moderate to severe pain. It is a combination medication that contains oxycodone and acetaminophen.
Oxycodone is a semi-synthetic opioid drug. This means that it is derived from opioids such as morphine or codeine. Because it comes from the poppy plant, its potential for abuse is extremely high. Because of this, it is classified as a Schedule II drug under the federal Schedules for Controlled Substances. Acetaminophen, available over the counter, relieves mild to moderate pain and reduces fevers.
What Does Percocet Look Like?
Percocet most often comes in a yellow tablet that contains oxycodone hydrochloride with 10 mg of oxycodone and 325 mg of acetaminophen. This tablet has an oval shape. This type of tablet may contain the generic medication, but it could also be the brand-name variety. The strongest version contains 10 mg of oxycodone and 650 mg of acetaminophen.
Percocet also comes in lower dosages, and these tablets will be white and round in most cases. You can recognize them because they will have the word “Percocet” imprinted on them unless they are a generic version. These pills will also have the number of milligrams that they contain.
Other versions of Percocet include one that has 7.5 mg of oxycodone and 500 mg of acetaminophen. There is also a Percocet tablet that has 7.5 mg of oxycodone and 325 mg of acetaminophen, one with 5 mg of oxycodone and 325 mg of acetaminophen, and one with 2.5 mg of oxycodone and 325 mg of acetaminophen. Noting these facts will help someone from taking counterfeit Percocet.
Counterfeit Percocet and Other Pills
Sometimes, you might come across Percocet pills that are blue and round, but even if you believe that a pill is a Percocet, it may be something entirely different. Therefore, you must be careful before you ingest pills that you believe to be Percocet.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reported that counterfeit Percocet pills have been coming into the illegal drug market, and they have caused several overdoses that led to deaths. DEA Special Agent, Charge Richard Salter Jr., stated that if your Percocet was not prescribed by a physician and obtained from a pharmacy, it is highly likely that the pills you are taking are counterfeits. The authorities issued a public safety alert because of the prevalence of these counterfeit pills. Many people believed that they were purchasing yellow Percocet that turned out to be counterfeit.
In Minnesota, this menace of counterfeit pills began around 2018, and the number of these pills has been increasing every year. Many of these counterfeit drugs were laced with fentanyl. It is extremely dangerous if the user is unaware that fentanyl, which is 100 times more powerful than morphine, is in the medication. Several people believed that they were purchasing oxycodone, but the drug also contained fentanyl.
What Is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid intended to relieve pain due to cancer. Therefore, it is very strong. In fact, this medication is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. Manufacturers make fentanyl lozenges or transdermal patches, but dealers turn these into a form that they can easily mix with other drugs. They do this so that they can increase the effects that their clients obtain from Percocet and other drugs.
The user doesn’t necessarily know if fentanyl has been mixed in with the counterfeit Percocet. This may be the reason that death rates due to synthetic opioids went up from 2018 to 2019. As a matter of fact, deaths in 2019 were 12 times higher than they were in 2013. In 2019, more than 36,000 people died due to synthetic opioid use.
It would be very easy for you to mistake the counterfeit versions for yellow or white Percocet, so it is very important that you never purchase these drugs from a street dealer.
The first number printed on a Percocet tablet represents the amount of oxycodone hydrochloride, and the second number represents the amount of acetaminophen. They are written in the following manner:
• Oxycodone hydrochloride – 2.5 mg/325 mg
• Oxycodone hydrochloride – 5 mg/325 mg
• Oxycodone hydrochloride – 7.5 mg/325 mg
• Oxycodone hydrochloride –7.5 mg/500 mg
• Oxycodone hydrochloride –10 mg/325 mg
• Oxycodone hydrochloride – 10 mg/650 mg
If you are prescribed Percocet, you must take the medication exactly as your doctor prescribed it. In most cases, you will take one or two tablets every six hours when you are experiencing pain. Oxycodone is addictive, and acetaminophen may cause liver damage.
Oxycodone and Addiction
Oxycodone has the potential to cause people to become addicted. The medical community specifically advises people not to take more of the medication than their physicians prescribe. Physicians give special consideration if a patient has ever experienced a mental health issue or overdose or misused prescription medications in the past. Other concerns include whether the patient has used street drugs, drunk more than the average amount of alcohol, or has a family member who has done these things. If any of the above is true, the patient has a higher-than-average risk of overdosing on oxycodone.
Oxycodone is a medication that patients must not stop taking without tapering off first. If they do, they may experience opioid withdrawal symptoms:
- Rapid breathing
- Rapid heartbeat
- Loss of appetite
- Insomnia or waking up throughout the night
- Aches or pains in the joints or muscles
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
How Percocet Works
Percocet relieves pain by changing the way that the body perceives it. The opioid portion of the drug does this by binding to the central nervous system’s opioid receptors, and when this occurs, a surge of dopamine is released.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that sends messages to the nerve cells in your body. It is one of the components that make you feel very good. The surge of dopamine causes your tolerance for pain to increase, so it isn’t actually eliminating the pain. Acetaminophen is a non-opioid pain reliever.
The Potential for Abuse
Percocet has the potential to cause an addiction. It is more likely that this will occur if you already have a substance use disorder, but this is the case for all opioids. Percocet stimulates the body’s reward system. The point is for users to take more of the drug so that they can experience the feelings that Percocet brings. This reaction to the drug begins to level off, and users need to take more to achieve the same results.
Tolerance is building up at the point when people need to increase their doses of the drug to continue to experience the reward. This is when they are becoming addicted to this substance.
Outward Signs of an Addiction to Percocet
As people take Percocet, they may exhibit a number of side effects that may indicate addiction:
- Loss of coordination
- Slower breathing
- Insomnia or sleeping too much
- Mood swings
Gastrointestinal motility refers to the movement of food from the mouth through the stomach, esophagus, and small and large intestines on its way out of the body. When a person is taking Percocet, gastrointestinal motility decreases, causing constipation.
Social Signs of Addiction to Percocet
When people are becoming addicted to Percocet, they need to increase their intake. They cannot go to their physicians to get a prescription for a larger dose of these pills, so they resort to purchasing illegal Percocet from drug dealers, which increases the risk of them taking counterfeit Percocet. If this isn’t possible, they may try many other sneaky ways to get their drugs.
For example, if a friend or a family member has a prescription for Percocet, addicted individuals might steal the prescription from them. They may even forge their doctor’s signature on fake prescriptions to obtain more pills. Sometimes, people will claim to have lost their prescriptions, and they also ask their doctors to write new prescriptions for them.
Some people have even decided to file false police reports so that they can get more Percocet from the pharmacy. The really adept ones will go to a different doctor for each new prescription, but they will also go to a different pharmacy each time so that the pharmacist will not know that they are filling multiple prescriptions for Percocet.
An addiction to Percocet also makes people appear as if they are high. In some cases, these people look extremely excitable to others. In other cases, those addicted to Percocet may look as if they are tired all the time.
Negative Consequences of a Percocet Addiction
When people become addicted to Percocet, they may experience withdrawal symptoms including hypertension, an increased respiratory rate, an increased heart rate, diarrhea, vomiting, anorexia, nausea, restlessness, chills, perspiration, myalgia, anxiety, back pain, joint pain, abdominal cramps, dilated pupils, a runny nose, teary eyes, insomnia, weakness, irritability, and yawning.
Because of the side effects listed above, it may be very uncomfortable for you or your loved one to endure the detoxification process without the help of a medical professional. At Granite Recovery Centers, we offer a drug detox program in which you or your loved one will receive medications that will relieve the withdrawal symptoms.
It can be extremely uncomfortable to undergo withdrawal, and this is one reason that people give up trying the detoxification process on their own and return to Percocet use. When you are a guest in our treatment program, you will not have to experience these side effects without the help of our physicians and nurses. Our doctors will prescribe medications that will help you endure the detoxification process comfortably.
Interactions With Other Drugs
You or your loved one may combine Percocet with other medications, and these can interact negatively with the Percocet. Some examples are alcohol, benzodiazepines, antidepressants, and other opioids. This occurs because it is very common for people to take drugs when they are experiencing unpleasant symptoms from an undiagnosed mental health condition. If you or your loved one are taking these other medications with your Percocet that was prescribed for pain, you may develop a mental health disorder that also needs treatment.
At Granite Recovery Centers, we offer our clients a dual diagnosis program that allows us to treat both disorders. Our physicians can diagnose your mental health disorder along with your substance use disorder and develop treatments for both conditions.
If you or a loved one are ready to end the uncertainty of living with a substance use disorder, contact us at Granite Recovery Centers today. We can help you get on a path toward sobriety and a healthier life.