Both alcohol and oxycodone are powerful drugs in their own right. And, while both are safe if consumed responsibly, unfortunately, many people abuse the two substances, both on their own and by taking them together.
Alcohol is the most commonly used drug in the United States, and around 70 percent of American citizens admit that they have had one alcoholic beverage at least once during the last year. Meanwhile, oxycodone is one of the most commonly prescribed pain medications for Americans. The National Institute On Drug Abuse (NIDA) has indicated that around 81 percent of the entire world’s supply of oxycodone can be found in the United States.
On their own, oxycodone and alcohol have the potential to be abused and both produce a number of unwanted and potentially dangerous side effects. However, if the two are combined, the result can be a lethal concoction that can result in respiratory distress, impaired judgment, and, possibly death.
Oxycodone -A Closer Look
Oxycodone is a powerful opioid that is often prescribed by physicians to counteract chronic and acute pain conditions. It is effective in treating both moderate and severe pain. And, although it is extremely beneficial for many patients, there are some significant risks associated with its use. The many unwanted side effects range from nausea and drowsiness to poor appetite and dry mouth. It also can be misused. In fact, it has been cited as possibly the top abused prescription medication in the United States today. When it is used to excess, it produces a feeling of euphoria, which prevents the user from having a normal cognitive function, and this makes everyday activities, such as driving or operating machinery, extremely dangerous.
Alcohol And Oxycodone – The Unwanted Side Effects
Experts have warned repeatedly about mixing alcohol and oxycodone, and it isn’t difficult to see why. Although both have the potential to produce negative effects when used independently, those side effects are compounded to a worrying degree if they are combined. There are some serious risks linked to mixing alcohol and oxycodone, and the risk of interaction strongly outweighs the potential benefits for anyone who is overusing one or both of these substances. The major side effects associated with combining alcohol and oxycodone include:
• Low blood pressure
• Impaired judgment and cognitive function
• Respiratory distress
• Liver problems
• Impaired breathing
• Irregular heartbeat
What Happens If You Combine Oxycodone and Alcohol?
If you take alcohol and oxycodone together, the two substances work to slow your rate of breathing. Since both opioids and alcohol suppress respiration, the combined effect can result in the brain failing to receive enough oxygen and, therefore, start to close down the body’s organs. The end result can be brain damage, or even death, because of insufficient oxygen.
Someone who mixes both of the drugs together may stop breathing, go into a coma or, possibly, die. Opioid medications already have a sedative effect on the body, and because alcohol enhances this effect, the user becomes so drowsy that he or she ends up falling asleep and cannot be woken up.
Because both oxycodone and alcohol affect balance, there is also an increased risk of falling and suffering serious injuries or even death as a consequence. This is especially the case for older people who use the drugs together. It is also true that both drugs can result in memory loss and can increase the effects of dementia, which is another risk for older users. With poor coordination being another result of combining the two drugs, the risks are clear when driving or operating any kind of machinery.
The Danger of Combining Alcohol and Oxycodone
Since consuming alcohol is a common occurrence for many people today, it is possible they don’t realize they shouldn’t drink when they are taking a prescribed narcotic. Whenever you are issued a new prescription, it’s always important to talk to your physician about any side affects you may experience and any combinations and interactions that could prove dangerous.
Both alcohol and oxycodone carry some significant dangers, not the least of which is the possibility of becoming addicted. This is especially the case for anybody who already has a personal or family history of substance abuse disorders or mental illnesses. Addiction leads to a host of other problems, both for the user and for his or her loved ones.
Using either alcohol or oxycodone can seriously impair judgment, and this means it’s possible to accidentally overdose without realizing how much you’ve taken. When you combine the two substances, the chances of opioid overdose and alcohol poisoning become even higher. The result could be serious damage to the health, or even, in the worst-case scenario, death.
Although there are products, such as Narcan, available that can help in case of an opioid overdose, alcohol poisoning has no medical antidotes. While hospital staff can use some other methods, such as activated charcoal, as a treatment for alcohol poisoning, it is still fair to say those who combine opioids with alcohol are putting themselves at an increased risk of an overdose that is extremely difficult to treat.
Which Treatments Are Available For Alcohol And Oxycodone Addiction?
There are numerous resources open to anyone who is abusing alcohol and oxycodone. A good place to start the search would be SAMHA’s Opioid Treatment Program Directory. Drug rehab NJalso offers programs for young adults who are struggling with substance abuse disorders.