Created at the University of Frankfurt in 1916, Oxycodone is a synthetic opioid made from an alkaloid in the opium poppy. It has historically been prescribed for the treatment and management of severe pain and is effective when the prescribed oxycodone dosage is followed as directed.
Unfortunately, this potent medication, which is in the same family as heroin, has been misused in recent years and not taken as prescribed by doctors. Opioids are highly addictive substances and have caused addiction rates to lead to epidemic levels in the United States and around the world.
Oxycodone as a recreational drug, along with other opioid medications such as oxycontin and hydrocodone, took off in the early ’90s when pharmaceutical companies, like Purdue, marketed their painkillers for short-term pain relief.
By 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), doctors wrote an estimated 250 million opioid prescriptions, enough for every adult in the country to have a bottle.
What is the Recreational Oxycodone Dosage to Get High?
Depending on the prescription, oxycodone comes in several different doses including:
- 10mg to 30mg immediate release pills, taken every four hours
- 20mg to 640mg in controlled release formula, taken once every 12 hours
- The average daily oxycodone dosage is around 105mg a day
There are a number of factors users take into consideration when using oxycodone recreationally. No standards exist for the right, or even approximate dose, because each individual responds differently when taking the drug.
First time users should tread carefully, until they know how their body chemistry responds to the medication.
Over time, both legal prescription users and illegal recreational users build a tolerance to the drug and find that more is needed to achieve the original results. This is one of the biggest reasons why opioids are so addictive.
The dangers of opioid overdose cannot be overstated. Too much of the drug at a high enough dose suppresses the cardiovascular system, causing labored breathing and even death.
A staggering number of people have died from heroin and prescription opioids, like oxycodone. According to the CDC, in 2015 alone, 33,000 people died from opioid overdose.
Methods of Recreational Oxycodone Dosage
Oxycodone, like other opioids, comes in a time-release formula meant to provide longer lasting relief from pain, as well as a safeguard to make it more difficult for people to abuse it recreationally.
The most common recreational use is orally ingesting more than the recommended oxycodone dosage.
Some users, though, have developed workarounds on the tamper-proof pills. By crushing the pills and snorting them or even taking the powder, diluting it with water and injecting it intravenously, recreational users get the full effect of the drug without the time-release element.
The dangers associated with this kind of usage are intensified. Time-release and tamper-proof tablets contain binders, which make it difficult to isolate the opioid by itself.
Some users have developed other methods, though first-timers attempting to snort or inject opioids should do so with caution as it is extremely unsafe.
Heating oxycodone to inhale the vapors by smoking it is also very dangerous. Though smoking it brings on a fast acting, short high, the other chemicals in the pills are likely to irritate and even harm the respiratory system.
How Long Does an Oxycodone High Last?
There are no standards, as it relates to recreational use, that exist for measuring the length of a person’s oxycodone high, but there are ways to measure how long oxycodone stays in the system.
Several factors may determine how long the affects of oxycodone last including:
- The amount or dose ingested
- A person’s tolerance level for the drug
- Whether oxycodone was used in conjunction with other substances
Because oxycodone acts like other opioids, it changes the brain’s response to pain, flooding the brain’s receptors with dopamine, a feel-good chemical the body produces naturally. In some users this brings on a sense of wellbeing and calmness.
Other recreational users report a slight increase in focus and awareness, which experts suggest is caused by norepinephrine released in the brain. This is also one reason some recreational users experience opiate-induced insomnia.
Hydrocodone, another synthetic opioid from a different alkaloid in the poppy, produces similar results. Both oxycodone and hydrocodone are sometimes mixed with acetaminophen.
Negative Side Effects of Oxycodone and Other Opioids
Because oxycodone is a controlled substance, possession of the opioid painkiller without a legitimate prescription is illegal.
Regular opioid use, whether recreational or medicinal, comes with a wave of unpleasant and even dangerous side effects.
The Negative Side Effects of Oxycodone Can Include:
- Low blood pressure
- Severe constipation
- Drowsiness, dizziness and weakness
- Decreased libido
- Confusion and nervousness
- Depression and anxiety
- Loss of appetite
- Death from overdose due to respiratory depression
Addiction to oxycodone and other opioids is a serious risk.
Opioid addiction is treatable, but the painful withdrawal symptoms are difficult to overcome and a strong psychological dependence makes relapse common even after withdrawal symptoms have subsided.
Though public awareness of the opioid crisis in the U.S. is starting to be seen as a mental health issue, we still have a long way to go before the general public understands that addiction is a disease and not a moral failing.
Even though many people started using opioids like oxycodone as prescribed for pain by a doctor, they became addicted and began using it recreationally or illegally either because they liked the high and the way it made them feel, or to avoid the painful withdrawal symptoms.
Fortunately, the stigma of addiction is slowly fading and more people are reaching out for professional treatment help.