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Percodan is a prescription pain killer with two active ingredients, oxycodone and aspirin. Percodan has been on the market for over 60 years, and has been used to treat moderate to severe pain with individuals who have suffered a serious injury or after a major surgery for example. It is a Schedule II narcotic, meaning it is only available by prescription and refills are not permitted. Use of the drug has been largely replaced by prescription pain relievers such as Percocet which contains a formulation of oxycodone and acetaminophen (Tylenol), due to the fact that the aspirin contained in Percodan may prohibit blood clotting resulting in excessive bleeding, which is contraindicative for post-surgery purposes.
The Percodan which is available and prescribed today is often diverted for recreational use, by individuals who wish to get high off of the oxycodone component of the drug which is an opioid narcotic. Oxycodone is derived from the opium poppy, which is also where heroin comes from. So someone who wants to get an opiate high if heroin is not available will often abuse diverted pharmaceuticals such as Percodan. Opiate abusers will take whatever they can get their hands on, and this is the fate of many opioid based pharmaceuticals such as Percodan. Individuals who abuse Percodan can obtain these types of drugs either through doctor shopping for a legitimate prescription, from friends or acquaintances that have a prescription for the drug, stealing these types of drugs from others, or through illicit drug distribution much like heroin and other illegal drugs.
Percodan abuse can also occur if someone has never been involved in substance abuse yet becomes dependent to its effects. Someone who has had a surgery or other injury and is prescribed Percodan for pain may find that they have trouble stopping use once their prescription has run out. This is due to the fact that opioid dependence develops very rapidly, and if someone abruptly stops using an opioid such as Percodan they will very likely begin going through opiate withdrawal. During opiate withdrawal the individuals will feel ill much like a bad flu and also experience intense cravings to use Percodan or some other suitable opiate drug. It can therefore be very difficult to simply stop using drugs such as Percodan cold turkey, and individuals may find themselves seeking out more medication to ease these symptoms. Many individuals who have never had a history of substance abuse in their lives have found themselves in this situation, with a full blown addiction to prescription pain relievers.
There are always risks of dependence and addiction to prescription pain killers such as Percodan for those who may not have a current history of substance abuse but have been involved in opiate abuse at some point in their past. For example, someone who has stopped opiate abuse either on their own or with help may be prescribed Percodan or some other prescription opioid for a legitimate ailment. Their physician may not be aware of the fact that the patient has a past history of opioid abuse, and may with good intentions prescribe a pain killer such as Percodan. Physicians are supposed to inquire about circumstances such as this, but unfortunately this is often not the case. When left to the discretion of the patient, many will oblige and fill their prescription. This can lead to a devastating relapse for individuals who could have been prescribed a non-narcotic pain killer which would have been more appropriate for their circumstances.
Individuals who are abusing Percodan will often take fare more than would ever be prescribed to experience an intense opiate high. In moderate doses patients experience pain relief, but in extremely high doses individuals are going for an intense euphoric high much like one would experience from take an illicit street drug such as heroin. Someone wanting to experience this type of high could take 4 or more Percodan pills for example, when only one would suffice in terms of pain relief. Percodan is instance release, meaning there is no extended release version of the drugs so its effects are felt all at the same time right away. This whopping dose of Percodan can very easily cause an overdose which can result in seizures, cessation of breathing, cardiac arrest, coma and death.
The likelihood of an overdose is all dependent on dosage and how opiate dependent someone is. For example, someone who has a history of opiate abuse but has stopped may take a large dose of Percodan thinking they will be tolerant to that dose. Not having taken opiates in a while they may not be tolerant to that dose at all, and a deadly overdose can occur instead of the intended high there were going for. Unintentional overdoses occur all the time with drugs such as Percodan, and are particularly likely if the user has been mixing Percodan with alcohol or other drugs. Combining drugs or multiple drugs with alcohol is a very common cause of death and responsible for thousands of visits to emergency rooms around the country each year.
Prescription drug abuse to powerful opioid narcotics such as Percodan is no new problem, but still a much unacknowledged one. Many are under the illusion that drugs such as Percodan are harmless because they are prescribed by a physician and are legal, and many have a prescription drug problem but are in denial because this kind of mindset. Percodan abuse and any other kind of prescription drug abuse is drug abuse, cut and dry. If someone is using a prescription drug without a prescription or is using it other than prescribed, it is very likely they have a drug problem and they need help. This scenario can happen to anyone, not just hardcore drug addicts. If a prescription drug problem does exist, there is no shame in getting the help one needs to resolve it. Because prescription drug addiction can have so many devastating consequences, it is best to seek help as soon as it is recognized at an effective inpatient or residential drug rehab facility which treats opiate addiction.
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