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The Dangers of Snorting Percocet

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Snorting Percocet comes with various risks, including nosebleeds, sinus infections, damage to the nasal cavity, and a heightened risk of overdose, which can be fatal.

Percocet is an opioid-based pain medication that contains the drugs oxycodone and acetaminophen. The euphoric effect of the medication makes it a common subject of abuse. 

When people snort Percocet, they grind the tablets into a fine powder and snort the resulting powder. When snorted, the drug enters the bloodstream faster, and the euphoric effect is more intense. However, this practice is very dangerous. 

How Dangerous Is Snorting Percocet?

Percocet tablets are designed to be released at a safe rate into a person’s system. When swallowed, the pills enter the stomach where they dissolve. They are then metabolized and released into the bloodstream. 

When snorted, the drug enters the bloodstream at a much faster rate than medically intended. This increased onset of action can create toxic levels of the active ingredients of Percocet in the bloodstream. 

Additionally, many people who snort Percocet do so while simultaneously ingesting it in pill form, which can further increase the risk of creating toxic levels of oxycodone and acetaminophen in the bloodstream. Both of these practices can induce an overdose, and overdoses can be fatal. 

The biggest danger of snorting Percocet is overdose. While opioid overdose can potentially be reversible if naloxone is available to be immediately administered, it is often fatal. In addition to naloxone being on hand, someone needs to be around to administer the life-saving medication to the person who is overdosing.

Side Effects of Snorting Percocet

When snorted, Percocet can cause the following side effects:

  • Uncontrollable nosebleeds
  • Impairment in the ability to smell
  • Infections in the sinuses 
  • The development of pores or perforations in the nasal septum
  • Sore throat, nose, and mouth

If Percocet or other drugs are continually snorted, these effects compound. People can end up with permanent damage to their sense of smell or their nasal cavity if they continue use.

These effects are in addition to the general side effects that can occur with the ingestion of Percocet, which may include the following:

  • Shivering
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting 
  • Fever
  • Impairments in muscular functioning
  • Seizure
  • Coma

These effects can begin as early as a few minutes after snorting Percocet and may last up to several days, even after discontinuing use. 

Can You Overdose From Snorting Percocet?

Yes, you can overdose on Percocet, and snorting the drug significantly increases the risk of overdose. 

When snorted, Percocet enters the bloodstream at an unsafe rate. Too much Percocet can quickly become present in the body, and it cannot be cleared at a sufficiently rapid rate to prevent disruption to bodily systems. 

Like all opioids, Percocet can suppress breathing to dangerous levels. When overdose occurs, breathing can slow to the point of stopping, resulting in brain damage or death.

Signs of Percocet Overdose

Signs of a Percocet overdose include the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Extreme weakness and loss of muscle function
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Nausea 
  • Extremely low blood pressure
  • Blueness in the lips and nails
  • Unconsciousness
  • Seizure
  • Coma

As of 2023, it’s estimated that more than 1,000 emergency department visits occur daily due to opioid misuse. In 2020, three-quarters of all overdose deaths involved opioids. 

The risk of overdose is heightened when opioids are combined with use of other substances, such as alcohol. The risk also increases when opioids are taken in a manner other than as prescribed, such as by snorting or injecting the drugs. 

Fast action can save someone’s life in the case of opioid overdose. Call 911 immediately and administer naloxone (Narcan) if it’s available. Even if you aren’t certain that the person has actually overdosed, take these steps, as it could save their life. 

Help for Percocet Abuse

If you’ve been snorting Percocet or any drug, it’s a clear sign of misuse and a need for help. While opioids are very addictive, people stop abusing them every day with the right help. This often involves a combination of medication and therapy in an addiction treatment program. 

Reach out for that help today. You can embrace a better future without drug abuse.

Updated August 23, 2023
  1. Oxycodone. (September 2022). StatPearls.
  2. Oxycodone. (2023). U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
  3. Understanding Drug Overdoses and Deaths. (February 2022). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  4. Opioid Overdose. (March 2023). StatPearls.
  5. My Story: How One Percocet Prescription Triggered My Addiction. (December 2012). Journal of Medical Toxicology.
  6. Opioid Abuse and Overdose: Prevention Strategies. (August 2015). American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine.
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