Oxycodone, which is often referred to by its most common brand name, OxyContin, is a very potent and highly addictive opioid narcotic pain reliever that is used to relieve severe pain caused by serious injury or disease. The effects of mixing oxycodone and alcohol can be very dangerous, as both substances depress the central nervous system, so that they slow down or even stop breathing and cardiac function when they are ingested at the same time in large enough quantities. Irreversible brain and major organ damage resulting in physical and cognitive disabilities can result from mixing oxycodone and alcohol. This mixture can also be fatal if large enough quantities of both substances are ingested.
Warning on Increasing Tolerance Levels
Nevertheless, substance abusers who become addicted to both substances do abuse them simultaneously. They are either at a stage where they have become so addicted to oxycodone and alcohol that they have developed tolerance to both substances, or they substitute one substance for the other to ward off the cravings and withdrawal symptoms of their dual substance addictions.
Mixing Oxycodone and Alcohol
Responsible physicians will never prescribe oxycodone to patients who are known to abuse alcohol. However, oxycodone is so widely abused that it is even stolen from pharmacies for resale to addicts, including those who are also addicted to alcohol. In addition, an alcoholic in denial can easily convince a pain specialist to prescribe oxycodone, and addicts are known to present themselves to physicians with complaints of chronic pain in order to receive prescriptions for oxycodone. Some of these addicts include patients who are not suffering from any type of pain at all, but who are indeed addicted to oxycodone and alcohol. Sometimes, an alert physician will be able to convince a patient who has no medical need for oxycodone, and who shows symptoms of alcohol abuse as well, to seek treatment for addiction to oxycodone and alcohol. This is especially true after several incidences in which physicians lost their licenses or were even prosecuted for prescribing oxycodone to patients who were at risk for falling victim to the effects of mixing oxycodone and alcohol.
Concerns of Mixing Alcohol with Other Opiates
Highly Addictive Drugs
Both oxycodone and alcohol are physically addictive. This means that after prolonged abuse of either substance, addicts develop a physical need for it and they will do whatever is necessary to obtain it. In the case of a restricted substance such as oxycodone, an addict who is not willing or able to purchase it on the black market may rely only on alcohol until he or she is able to obtain oxycodone again. This then leads to a situation in which the addict becomes dependent on two substances, both of which are very harmful on their own in the amounts that he or she needs to take in order to satisfy cravings for each one.
Treatment Options for Addicts
At this stage, a patient becomes truly addicted to oxycodone and alcohol, and the potential for suffering the most dangerous effects of mixing oxycodone and alcohol becomes very high. Treatment for addiction to oxycodone and alcohol becomes imperative, and it is best carried out in a residential setting where the patient can receive the level of medical care and monitoring that is necessary during the initial phase of treatment. This phase consists of detoxification, in which substitutes for both oxycodone and alcohol are administered so that the patient can begin working toward recovery without having to suffer the anguish of abrupt withdrawal from both substances.
Hotline to Call
If you or your loved one uses oxycodone to deal with the pain and unpleasant feelings that result from abusing alcohol on a regular basis, please call our 24-hour hotline. We will guide you to various options for treatment of the effects of mixing oxycodone and alcohol.
You can also use the free and confidential form below to see how your insurance covers substance abuse treatment.