Percocet is an addictive opioid often prescribed for pain. Taking Percocet may lead to dependence, but help is available to overcome Percocet addiction.
Percocet is one of the most commonly prescribed opioids in the United States, with more than 10 million prescriptions for the drug in 2020 alone. Unfortunately, Percocet is also a highly addictive drug that can lead to many complications, including abuse, addiction and overdose. If you or a loved one struggles with Percocet, it is important to be aware of your treatment options for overcoming the drug.
What Is Percocet?
Percocet is the brand name for the combination of the opioid oxycodone and the analgesic acetaminophen. It is often prescribed for pain severe enough to require an opioid, like pain after surgery. Combining oxycodone and acetaminophen can help reduce the amount of opioid that might otherwise be needed to manage pain.
Percocet is a short-acting opioid and is commonly prescribed to be taken multiple times a day. For example, a common prescription for Percocet is to take the drug every six hours as needed for pain.
Percocet comes in various strengths, including:
- Oxycodone 2.5 mg, acetaminophen 325 mg
- Oxycodone 5 mg, acetaminophen 325 mg
- Oxycodone 7.5 mg, acetaminophen 325 mg
- Oxycodone 10 mg, acetaminophen 325 mg
Other opioids that contain oxycodone and acetaminophen are available and are sold under other brand names like:
Understanding Percocet Addiction
Because oxycodone is an addictive opioid, products like Percocet that contain oxycodone are Schedule II controlled substances. This means they have a high risk of causing abuse, addiction and dependence.
Opioids like oxycodone are addictive because they trigger the brain’s reward circuit, causing your brain to start releasing the feel-good chemical dopamine.
Although the state of Georgia does not provide information on oxycodone specifically, opioids like oxycodone are commonly prescribed in Georgia and are implicated in thousands of overdoses:
- In February 2022 alone, more than 346,000 Georgians received an opioid prescription.
- 5.8 million opioid prescriptions were written in Georgia in 2021.
- In 2020, opioid overdoses led to 7,954 emergency room visits, 2,822 hospitalizations and 1,266 deaths in Georgia.
- The highest rates of opioid overdose deaths in 2020 occurred in large cities like Atlanta.
- Overall in the United States in 2020, more than 2.7 million people were prescribed Percocet.
Signs of Percocet Abuse
When someone starts to fall into a Percocet addiction, signs of addiction often begin to emerge. Although not every person will show all signs, typically two of the following signs within a 12-month period can indicate that a person is struggling with Percocet:
- Taking more Percocet or for a longer time than intended.
- Persistent wish or unsuccessful attempts to cut down or stop Percocet.
- Spending a lot of time obtaining, taking or recovering from Percocet.
- Cravings for Percocet.
- Problems fulfilling obligations at work, school or home due to Percocet.
- Interpersonal problems caused by continued Percocet use.
- Giving up social, occupational or recreational activities due to Percocet.
- Taking Percocet even when it is physically dangerous to do so.
- Taking Percocet even though you know doing so is causing you harm.
- Needing increasing doses of Percocet to achieve the same effects as before.
- Withdrawal symptoms when you try to quit or cut back on Percocet.
Risks & Side Effects of Percocet Addiction
As a controlled substance, Percocet carries many risks, including addiction. Addiction can cause problems at school, work and home. It can get a person into legal problems, be extremely harmful to a person’s health and cause a potentially deadly overdose.
Certain people may be at a higher risk of Percocet overdose, including those who:
- Mix Percocet with alcohol or other drugs
- Take a high Percocet dose
- Take more Percocet than prescribed
- Have certain medical conditions like sleep apnea, or have impaired kidneys or liver
- Are older than 65 years of age
Percocet overdose symptoms include:
- Pinpoint pupils
- Falling asleep or loss of consciousness
- Slow or shallow breathing
- Making choking or gurgling sounds
- Limp muscles
- Pale, bluish or cold skin
A Percocet overdose is a medical emergency. If you suspect someone is overdosing on Percocet, you should immediately give naloxone (Narcan) if available and then call 911. You will not get in trouble for saving someone’s life.
When someone takes Percocet on a regular basis and then suddenly stops the medication, withdrawal symptoms are common. Withdrawal occurs when a person’s body has become used to the presence of Percocet. If the medication is suddenly stopped, the body can struggle to adapt. Percocet withdrawal symptoms start within 12 hours after the last dose, peak within 48 hours and resolve over the next several days. Symptoms include:
- Muscle aches
- Trouble sleeping
- Increased tear production
- Runny nose
- Enlarged pupils
- Abdominal cramps
- Nausea or vomiting
Treatment for Percocet Addiction
Addiction recovery is a lifelong process with many steps along the way. These include:
- Detox: The first step in treating a Percocet addiction is detox. In a medically supervised detox setting, you are carefully weaned off Percocet while under round-the-clock care from doctors and nurses. Methadone or buprenorphine products may be prescribed as medically appropriate to give you the most comfortable withdrawal possible and avoid cravings.
- Rehab: Multiple rehab settings are available, and clients often start with intensive residential rehab and progress through less-intensive outpatient rehab. In rehab, the hard work of recovery begins. You not only begin to explore why you took Percocet in the first place but also learn coping strategies to avoid Percocet in the future.
- Aftercare: Even after rehab is complete, it is still important to maintain focus on your recovery over the long term. Aftercare programs, including alumni and support groups, are an important part of avoiding Percocet relapses during your recovery.
About Our Percocet Addiction Treatment Program
The Recovery Village Atlanta offers a full continuum of Percocet addiction treatment options to get you off – and keep you off – Percocet for good. Our comprehensive treatment program adapts to your needs as you recover from Percocet and can support you each step of the way. Our programs include:
- Medical detox: In our Percocet medical detox program, you are weaned off Percocet while under supportive care from doctors and nurses to help treat any withdrawal symptoms that arise. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) with buprenorphine products like Suboxone may be used as medically appropriate.
- Residential rehab: Our residential rehab program follows medical detox. In residential rehab, you stay on-site at our treatment facility. There, you can focus on your recovery, healing not only your body but also your mind. You undergo intensive therapy to explore the reasons for first taking Percocet and learning coping strategies to stay off of it.
- Partial hospitalization: Following residential rehab, many people are not fully ready to go back to the outside world. Partial hospitalization provides a bridge between residential and outpatient rehab, maintaining intensive therapy while allowing more freedom than residential rehab.
- Aftercare: Following rehab, it is important to maintain a lifelong focus on your recovery. This is where aftercare comes in, keeping you in touch with your support system via alumni groups and self-help groups to maintain your sobriety over the long term.
The Recovery Village Atlanta is a leader in addiction treatment. We offer:
- A comprehensive continuum of evidence-based care: from medical detox to rehab to aftercare, our licensed experts are with you every step of the way as you overcome Percocet.
- Healing amenities: recovery isn’t just about stopping Percocet — it’s about learning to live life without it. Our amenities include walking trails, yoga and fitness facilities to help you start a new, healthy, Percocet-free life.
- State-of-the-art facilities: we pride ourselves on offering comprehensive, comfortable facilities to our clients. From semi-private rooms to updated treatment settings, we make sure our clients pursue recovery in the best possible settings.
- Nationwide locations: from Atlanta to Florida to the Pacific Northwest, we offer a variety of settings to help you in your recovery journey.
Get Started On Your Recovery Journey Today
Percocet addiction can be difficult to overcome on your own. Fortunately, help is here. Call our intake experts at The Recovery Village Atlanta to learn more about how we can help you every step of the way as you move forward from Percocet. Don’t wait: contact us today.
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- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Preventing an Opioid Overdose”>.” Accessed October 9, 2022.
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- Drugs.com. “Percocet”>Percocet.” May 23, 2022. Accessed October 9, 2022.
- ClinCalc. “Acetaminophen; Oxycodone”>.” Accessed October 9, 2022.
The Recovery Village Atlanta aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.