Percocet Addiction, Statistics, Abuse, Symptoms & Side Effects

What is Percocet?

Percocet is a prescription pain reliever that combines dosages of acetaminophen and oxycodone. Typically prescribed to relieve pain that is not chronic in nature, Percocet tablets are available with differing appearances and maximum daily doses, with varying combinations of acetaminophen and oxycodone. Because of its oxycodone component, Percocet can be habit-forming as it is derived from the same source as heroin and morphine, running the risk of developing a Percocet addiction. Percocet functions in the body by altering the way the brain perceives pain and depressing the central nervous system to induce a feeling of euphoria or heightened pleasure.

When used recreationally, Percocet tablets are often crushed and smoked, snorted, or injected to achieve a “high”. Percocet is known by several street names, such as “Paulas”, “Roxi’s”, “Blue Dynamite”, “Percs”, “Roxicotten”, and “512S”. Since this drug is available by prescription only, men and women who abuse Percocet often obtain it through illegal means, such as stealing prescriptions or visiting many doctors with fake symptoms to obtain numerous prescriptions. The non-medical use of Percocet is associated with several negative repercussions, such as damage to physical health, emotional and mental vulnerabilities and stress on familial relationships. If you or a loved one is suffering with an addiction to Percocet, there is hope for recovery and freedom from the abusive cycle of addiction.

Percocet Treatment and Help

A Percocet addiction is an incapacitating way of living your life, limiting your potential for what you are truly capable of, or hindering you from thriving as a healthy individual. If you or a loved one is struggling with a Percocet addiction, the first step towards overcoming this is by identifying the problem. It is crucial to obtain professional help to appropriately and effectively deal with the complications that may have resulted from Percocet use. By yourself, a Percocet addiction can be overwhelming to deal with, but fortunately, you do not have to be alone. Enlisting the support of a professional treatment team, and Percocet rehab center can allow for the best care and treatment, and ultimately, give you the tools you need to overcome this addiction.

Percocet Abuse Statistics

Since Percocet is one of the most commonly prescribed painkillers, there is much to learn from those who use it for both medicinal and recreational purposes. The following are statistics about Percocet reveal how dangerous this drug can be when not used for intended reasons:

  • According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, over 100,000 individuals were admitted to the emergency department for painkiller abuse, such as a Percocet overdose. By 2008, the number of admissions to the emergency department had almost doubled to over 300,000 [1].
  • The Drug Abuse Warning Network issued a report in 2010 that detailed how the non medical use of prescription pain relievers continues to be a public health issue in the United States that warrants serious concern [1].
  • Emergency Department visits involving oxycodone products, such as Percocet, increased by 152% between 2004 and 2008 [1].

Causes of Percocet Addiction

Addiction to Percocet can be caused by a variety of factors. Major underlying causes of Percocet abuse are related to biological, psychological, and social/environmental factors. The abuse of Percocet typically begins when a man or woman is using their prescription beyond the recommended dosage or taking Percocet for reasons other than pain relief. Certain factors may trigger the abuse of Percocet, such as an unresolved psychological trauma, peer pressure or exposure to the drug, or other co-occurring disorders, such as an eating disorder or mood instability. Percocet addiction can also be co-occurring with abuse of other substances, alcohol, and even eating disorders. The addiction nature is influenced by several factors, and it is likely that Percocet abusers may struggle with another form of addiction.

Signs and Symptoms of Percocet Addiction

Men and women who are using Percocet may exhibit numerous signs and symptoms. While people who are suffering with an addiction to Percocet may not display the same signs, you may observe some of these symptoms:

  • Irritability and Mood Swings
  • Insomnia or Restlessness
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Disinterest in physical appearance
  • Decline in work or school performance
  • Continually asking for or borrowing money needed to obtain Percocet
  • Feeling as though Percocet is needed consistently throughout the day
  • Obsession with maintaining a certain supply of Percocet
  • Engaging in illegal activity to obtain Percocet prescriptions, such as fraud or stealing

If you or a loved one is experiencing any of these side effects as a result from an addiction to Percocet, it is recommended that you seek professional help as soon as possible.

Percocet Effects

A Percocet addiction can have a tremendous impact in various aspects of an abuser’s life. These consequences can impact a man or woman physically, psychologically/mentally, and socially. The following are effects of a Percocet addiction:

Physical Effects – The abuse of the drug Percocet can compromise the body’s ability to function normally but destroying various systems and/or organs. Here are some negative physical consequences resulting from using the drug Percocet:

  • Kidney disease
  • Respiratory failure
  • Cardiovascular complications
  • Gastrointestinal upsets
  • Infection from injecting with needles
  • Compromised mental function
  • Liver dysfunction
  • Death due to accidental overdose

Psychological / Mental Effects – Abusing Percocet can also reap negative repercussions on mental health and wellness. These are some of the negative psychological and mental effects from the misuse of Percocet:

  • Mood disorders or instability
  • Increased anxiety or depression
  • Disorientation or confusion
  • Personality shifts
  • Paranoia
  • Feelings of rage or anger
  • Altered perception of reality
  • Low self-esteem, negative body image
  • Suicidal thoughts

Social Effects – Percocet abuse can result in several negative social effects. These can include the following:

  • Alienation or segregation from friends and family
  • Loss of desire to participate in activities once enjoyed
  • Partitions within a family unit
  • Damaged relationships with loved ones

Percocet Withdrawal

When a man or woman becomes dependent on a drug, such as Percocet, the body will be use to the effects of Percocet over time. Because of this, withdrawing from Percocet too rapidly can lead to withdrawal symptoms. Physical withdrawal symptoms can last from 48-72 hours or as long as 30-60 days, depending on the severity of the addiction to Percocet. These symptoms develop as a result of the body attempting to recuperate from interference of the drug within its systems and any dysfunction the drug may have caused.

Withdrawal from Percocet may cause the following symptoms:

  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Anxiety
  • Body aches/Muscle Pain
  • Hypertension
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Tremors
  • Excessive sweating
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Anxiety/Panic Attacks
  • Insomnia
  • Seizures
  • Depression
  • Paranoia

Withdrawal from Percocet should occur under a medical professional. This will help minimize any complications that could result. There are also instances where physicians can prescribe drugs specifically used to assist a person through the detoxification process by alleviate symptoms that may be experienced. Drugs that may be used include Clonidine and Naloxone. Clonidine helps to decrease anxiety, agitation, and muscle cramps during withdrawals, while Naloxone works by preventing opiates from attaching to receiver systems in the body.

Having the support of a Percocet rehabilitation center and treatment team can help an individual struggling with a Percocet addiction withdraw from the drug safely and create long term success for recovery.


[1]: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies. (June 18, 2010). The DAWN Report: Trends in Emergency Department Visits Involving Nonmedical Use of Narcotic Pain Relievers. Rockville, MD.

Articles About Percocet

  • The development of substance abuse tolerance leads to higher levels of Percocet intake and in many cases substance dependence (Miller & Carroll, 2012). The PST Alignment Exercise is part of the Perspective Sharing in Therapy (PST) (Pound, 2014) toolbox that is utilized with clients who are seeking alternative methods to Percocet managed pain.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on August 13, 2013
Published on, Online Substance Abuse Treatment Information