Percocet and alcohol can never be safely combined. Mixing the two can result in death.
Simultaneously ingesting alcohol and Percocet is comparable to consuming alcohol with any other pain-alleviating analgesic (painkiller). The substances will interact negatively in varying degrees, depending on the individual.
Why is it Dangerous?
Percocet is an opioid that is prescribed to treat pain. It is a potent drug that can lead to respiratory distress when it is taken in large amounts or combined with other substances of abuse.
Alcohol is a depressant that can also suppress breathing when it is consumed in high amounts.
The effects of both substances are compounded when they are mixed.
On the outside, those under the influence of Percocet and alcohol may just appear to be exceedingly intoxicated. They may have problems formulating coherent sentences, perceptions of frenzied euphoria, lethargy, perpetual skin irritations, and debilitated reasoning.
Mixing Percocet with alcohol escalates the possibility of liver damage and an overall reduction in health. Overdose is much more likely when substances are mixed, particularly two depressants.
At high enough levels, the combination of Percocet and alcohol may trigger shallow breathing, cardiac arrest, and death.
Percocet is the brand name for the oxycodone and acetaminophen blend that is available through a doctor’s prescription to alleviate moderate or severe pain. It is a Schedule II controlled substance, meaning it has an inflated potential for abuse that could likely result in physical dependence or substantial psychological problems.
The acetaminophen part of Percocet is administered to diminish fevers and lessen pain in patients. If taken at high doses for extended periods of time, acetaminophen can result in liver damage.
The other component of Percocet is oxycodone, which is a narcotic pain reliever. If taken on a regular basis for a sustained period of time, physical dependence is likely. This means a user will experience unwanted withdrawal symptoms if they suddenly stop taking the drug.
Oxycodone can lead to addiction, especially if not taken as prescribed. Prescription painkillers are abused for their euphoric effects, and legitimate use can quickly turn into abuse.
People may double up on their prescribed dose to experience the effects more strongly. They may also alter the method by which they take the drug, such as chewing extended-release tablets to get the full force of the medication at once.
Some people may crush the pills to snort the resulting powder. Others may mix crushed pills with water to create a solution they can inject.
All of these are methods of abuse.
How Do I Avoid Addiction While Taking Percocet?
If you have been prescribed Percocet, take it exactly as prescribed.
Do not mix the drug with any other substance, including alcohol. Drinking alcohol while taking Percocet increases the chances of addiction.
Your doctor should be informed if you are taking any other medications, if you plan on consuming alcohol or other drugs during treatment, or if you have any other conditions that may affect your breathing ability.
Be transparent with your doctor about other medications you are taking. If you don’t disclose this information, it can result in life-threatening consequences.
If you have built a tolerance to Percocet with legitimate medical use, discuss this with your doctor. This simply means that your regular dose is no longer effective at managing your pain. Your doctor may raise your dosage, or they may switch you to a different painkiller.
Your doctor will also likely discuss alternative methods of pain management with you, such as physical therapy, massage, and gentle exercise. While these may not fully address your pain, they can help to alleviate it somewhat and support your overall recovery process.
If Percocet and alcohol are combined, the following effects may occur:
- Decreased breathing rate
- Slowed heart rate
- Lower body temperature
- Slowed reaction times
- Reduced thinking capabilities
- Poor judgment
- Brain damage due to reduced oxygen to the brain
- Increased risk for overdose
- Mood swings
- Memory issues
Over time and with repeated use, this combination can lead to serious long-term harm, including damage to various organs.
Again, the most serious risk of combining alcohol and Percocet is a fatal overdose. If this occurs, call 911 immediately.
The opioid overdose antidote naloxone should be immediately given if it is available.
Is There a Safe Amount of Alcohol I Can Drink While on Percocet?
There is no safe way to drink alcohol while taking Percocet.
If you are taking Percocet for pain management, wait until the Percocet has processed out of your body before drinking. If you are drinking, wait until you are fully sober to take any Percocet.