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Percocet Overdose

An overdose of Percocet is a medical emergency. Call 911, even if you’re not certain the overdose is life-threatening. The drug naloxone should be administered if available, as it reverses the effects of opioids and can stop a life-threatening overdose.

Struggling with Percocet Addiction? Get Help Now

Key Facts

Key Facts

  • Percocet contains oxycodone, an opioid that can cause respiratory depression, making it harder to breathe.[1]
  • Percocet overdose is more likely if the drug is combined with other opioids, alcohol, or benzodiazepines.[2]
  • A Percocet overdose is a medical emergency, potentially leading to brain damage or death if not treated swiftly.[3]
  • The drug naloxone can be life-saving in the event of a Percocet overdose.[4]

Can You Overdose on Percocet?

Yes, you can certainly overdose on Percocet if you take too much or if you combine it with other substances like alcohol.

There isn’t a clear-cut answer regarding the question of how much it takes to overdose on Percocet. Research has predictably shown that medications containing a higher amount of oxycodone tend to carry an increased risk of overdose.[5] 

Oxycodone is the main threat in Percocet, as it can affect one’s ability to breathe. What makes a dangerous dose can depend on a person’s health, their tolerance for the drug, and whether they’ve taken any other drugs with effects that may stack dangerously with oxycodone, such as other opioids or alcohol.[1]

The risk of overdose is very real with Percocet if someone abuses the drug, and it becomes higher if someone has an addiction to Percocet. If an overdose occurs, key muscles used to breathe are often so weak that they cannot draw in enough air to support the body’s needs. This can lead to permanent brain damage and death in severe cases.[6]

What Are the Signs of a Percocet Overdose?

A Percocet overdose is a medical emergency, as it can be life-threatening. If a person is believed to have overdosed on Percocet, call 911 immediately. If naloxone (Narcan) is available, administer it immediately.

Signs that a person might be overdosing on Percocet include the following:[7]

  • Breathing problems, including breathing slower or taking shallow breaths
  • Extreme sleepiness, potentially leading to unconsciousness or coma
  • Muscle weakness
  • Cold and sweaty skin, which may have a bluish hue
  • Narrowed pupils
  • Slow heartbeat and low blood pressure

Risk Factors for Percocet Overdose

Several factors can affect a person’s chance of experiencing a dangerous overdose. While misusing or abusing Percocet should never be viewed as safe, it’s also a good idea to understand these risk factors, especially if you think you might engage in opioid misuse in the future.

The most obvious risk factor for an overdose is the amount of Percocet, or other drugs that affect respiration, taken. Taking Percocet non-orally, such as by snorting it or injecting it, will increase its intensity and thus make a dose more potent and more dangerous than if it was taken by mouth. 

Put simply, no amount of opioid abuse should be viewed as safe, but the more Percocet that is taken or when it is taken in such a way that it affects the user more intensely, the more dangerous it is.[8]

The Numbers Game of Addiction 

Statistically speaking, opioid addiction (and the chronic opioid abuse that goes with it) is another risk factor when it comes to overdosing on any opioid. Consider how often a person who is addicted to opioids, including Percocet, engages in drug abuse compared to the average individual. They’re also more likely to engage in polydrug abuse—mixing Percocet with other medications that can have dangerously stacking effects. 

Even if a person’s chance of a dangerous overdose per instance of drug abuse is low, repeatedly engaging in drug abuse is much like rolling the dice many times in a row. The odds of getting an unwanted but relatively unlikely result greatly increase with the more times a person takes that chance.

What to Do if You Think Someone Is Overdosing on Percocet

An overdose of Percocet should be considered an emergency. If it isn’t clear if a person is overdosing, assume that they are. Call 911, stay on the phone with the operator, and administer naloxone (Narcan) to the individual if it’s available. 

Follow these steps if you suspect a Percocet overdose:

  • Call 911 immediately, and inform the operator of the situation and your location.
  • If available, administer naloxone to the patient. Put the naloxone plunger into the person’s nostril and firmly depress the plunger.
  • If the patient is conscious, ask them about their symptoms and what drugs they’ve taken.
  • Listen to the 911 operator, and answer any questions they have honestly and to the best of your ability.
  • Monitor the person’s heart rate and breathing.
  • If the patient’s heart or breathing slows dangerously or stops, begin CPR. If you don’t know CPR, loudly ask if anyone in the area does. Follow the emergency operator’s instructions.
  • Regardless of the patient’s condition, wait with them and stay on the phone with the 911 operator until professional help arrives.

Good Samaritan Laws

Most states have laws in place to encourage people to call for help in the event of an overdose. These Good Samaritan laws protect people from legal penalties for relatively minor drug crimes, so they can feel safe calling for medical assistance when it’s needed.[9] 

How to Prevent an Overdose

The best way to prevent an overdose is to only take Percocet as prescribed. If you struggle not to misuse or abuse the medication, seek help from treatment professionals. Overdosing will always be a risk if you misuse Percocet, especially if you misuse it with other drugs that can cause respiratory depression. 

An overdose shouldn’t be confused with withdrawal from Percocet. If you are experiencing uncomfortable, odd, or painful symptoms when you haven’t taken Percocet, this is a sign of withdrawal. If your symptoms occur after you’ve taken Percocet in high doses, they are more likely to signal an overdose. 

Get Help for Percocet Addiction at Boca Recovery Center

As long as you are abusing Percocet, overdose is always a risk. If you combine Percocet with other substances, the risk is even higher. 

At Boca Recovery Center, we can help you stop all opioid abuse. We’ll ensure you are safe and comfortable throughout the Percocet withdrawal process, so your risk of relapse is reduced. In our treatment program, we’ll equip you with the skills you need to manage long-term recovery.

If you struggle with Percocet or other types of opioids, reach out to us. We offer medical detox, inpatient treatment, outpatient care, MAT, and evidence-based therapy. Our team of empathetic and professional addiction treatment experts is ready to help. 

Check out the locations of our addiction treatment facilities in Florida, New Jersey, and Indiana. Whether you live locally or are traveling for treatment, we can get you set up today. Call now.

Updated March 22, 2024
  1. Percocet. Endo Pharmaceuticals. Published November 2006. Accessed March 12, 2024.
  2. Tori ME, Larochelle MR, Naimi TS. Alcohol or benzodiazepine co-involvement with opioid overdose deaths in the United States, 1999-2017. JAMA Network Open. 2020;3(4):e202361.
  3. Brain injury and opioid overdose: Fast facts. National Association of State Head Injury Administrators. Accessed March 12, 2024.
  4. Jordan MR, Morrisonponce D. Naloxone. StatPearls. Published 2019. Accessed March 12, 2024.
  5. Hirsch A, Proescholdbell SK, Bronson W, Dasgupta N. Prescription histories and dose strengths associated with overdose deaths. Pain Medicine. 2014;15(7):1187-1195.
  6. Save a life from prescription opioid overdose. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published July 17, 2020. Accessed March 12, 2024.
  7. Schiller EY, Mechanic OJ. Opioid Overdose. StatPearls. Published 2019. Accessed March 12, 2024.
  8. Risk factors for opioid misuse, addiction, and overdose. U.S. Department of Labor. Published 2023. Accessed March 12, 2024.
  9. Hamilton L, Davis CS, Kravitz-Wirtz N, Ponicki W, Cerdá M. Good Samaritan laws and overdose mortality in the United States in the fentanyl era. International Journal of Drug Policy. 2021;97:103294.
  10. Opioid addiction treatment. ASAM. Published 2016. Accessed March 12, 2024.
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