Percocet Drug Uses

What is Percocet?

This is a common question because of how frequently Percocet is used.

Percocet is a brand name prescription drug.

It’s a combination of oxycodone and acetaminophen.

Because Percocet contains oxycodone, it is a drug with abuse and addiction potential.

Understanding Percocet

Percocet can be prescribed by a health care provider to treat pain.

Percocet contains oxycodone, which is an opioid.

It also contains acetaminophen, which is an over-the-counter pain reliever.

It’s intended to be used only in the short-term, as is the case with other opioids.

Percocet should only be prescribed if the pain a person is experiencing is severe, and other medicines are not working or can’t be used.

Due to the opioid epidemic, doctors face strict guidelines regarding prescribing prescription pills – like Percocet.

How Does Percocet Work?

When you take Percocet, the oxycodone affects opioids receptors in your central nervous system.

Opioids slow down the functions of the central nervous system, including the brain.

Opioids, like Percocet, also change the perception of pain and how pain signals are sent.

Some people experience feelings of being high when using prescription pills, such as euphoric sensation. Those feelings are why opioids, including prescription pills, can be addictive.

When you take a drug like Percocet, it can trigger a reward response in your brain.

Over time, your voluntary use becomes involuntary as your brain compels you to keep using it.

The longer you use an addictive substance, the higher the risk of developing an addiction.

Some people who use prescription pills eventually turn to cheaper, more readily available, and often deadlier opioids – like fentanyl or heroin.

Are Percocets Legal?

The answer is yes, but only with a prescription.

Because of the oxycodone, Percocet is classified by the Drug Enforcement Administration as a Schedule II drug.

That means the DEA believes the drug has a high potential for abuse and dependence, even though it is legal for prescription use.

Percocet Effects and Abuse

Some of the signs and symptoms of Percocet include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Itching
  • Dry mouth
  • Cognitive impairment

Signs of Percocet abuse can include:

  • Taking Percocet for longer than instructed by a health care professional
  • Taking higher doses of Percocet than prescribed
  • Taking Percocet in any way outside of how it is intended, such as snorting it
  • Using Percocet only for certain effects, such as euphoria or relaxation
  • Using Percocet without a prescription
  • Combining Percocet with other substances, such as benzodiazepines or alcohol

Percocet drug addiction signs include:

  • Being unable to stop using Percocet, even when you want to
  • Using more Percocet than intended
  • Experiencing negative effects, yet still continuing to use Percocet
  • Dependence on the drug, meaning you experience withdrawal symptoms if you do not use Percocet

Since Percocet has acetaminophen, it can be especially risky to use large amounts.

Acetaminophen can cause acute liver damage or liver failure.

If you use large doses of Percocet to get high, you may be at risk of an overdose because of the oxycodone and liver damage because of the acetaminophen.


Mental Illness and Percocet

There are links between mental illness and substance use, including Percocet.

Someone with a mental health disorder may be at higher risk of abusing a drug, like Percocet, because they try to self-medicate to cope with their mental health symptoms.

The use of opioids can also affect your brain, leading to new or possibly worse mental health symptoms.

When someone seeks treatment for Percocet drug addiction, it’s essential that the program they participate in also treats underlying mental health disorders to reduce the risk of relapse.

Percocet Addiction Treatment

For someone addicted to Percocet or other opioids, professional treatment is often required.

When you go through a treatment program, you receive counseling and mental health therapy on an individual basis and group basis.

You may also receive medical and clinical care.

The goal of addiction treatment is to help you stop using substances and have a successful long-term recovery.

There are different types of treatment programs you can participate in.

The program that’s right for you depends on individual factors like:

  • How long you have been addicted to Percocet
  • The severity of your addiction
  • Whether you are also addicted to other substances
  • If you have co-occurring mental or physical health disorders
  • Whether you have previously tried other treatment programs


For someone dependent on Percocet or other substances, the first step of a comprehensive treatment program would be detox.

During detox, someone may go through withdrawal.

Withdrawal can be uncomfortable or even deadly, which is why medical supervision is important during this time.

If you try to detox on your own, you may put yourself in danger.

You are also more likely to relapse without a supervised detox.

Inpatient Rehab

An inpatient rehab program is intensive, and you live onsite for some time as you receive treatment.

Inpatient rehab may begin with a medically-supervised detox as you go through withdrawal.

When you are ready, you’ll begin actual treatment.

Inpatient rehab allows you to step away from your life of Percocet drug use and give yourself a fresh mental start.

You are away from triggers and situations that remind you of your substance use.

Inpatient treatment allows for close monitoring, and you can work solely toward your recovery without distractions.

Inpatient treatment usually lasts anywhere from 28 days to six months.

Partial Care Programs

There are different levels of treatment.

One option is called a partial care program.

These programs help create a safe, comfortable environment with individualized treatment plans.

A partial care program may be your first step if your addiction is milder or more short-term.

Partial care programs are also transitional steps between inpatient and outpatient treatment.

Outpatient Rehab

An outpatient rehab program can vary in intensity.

It may be as simple as weekly therapy or regular check-ins with a care provider.

There are also intensive outpatient programs, with meetings and check-ins several times a week.

You can begin with outpatient treatment if you have a milder or shorter-term addiction.

You might also step down into outpatient treatment after you complete inpatient rehab.


Paying for Treatment

To pay for rehab or addiction treatment, you will most likely want to use your insurance if possible.

Most insurance plans do cover the costs of addiction treatment and behavioral health care.

If you contact North Jersey Recovery Center, our admissions team can conduct an insurance verification free of charge. You can complete an information form online or call us to verify your benefits.

If you do not have insurance, our admissions team can help you explore other ways to pay for treatment.

Summing Up: Percocet Drug Addiction

Percocet is a powerful opioid that is highly addictive.

Often people are prescribed Percocet for a short time, but their legitimate medical use of the drug often leads to abuse and addiction.

Oxycodone, which is the opioid in Percocet, changes your brain and activates your reward cycle, leading to addiction.

If you struggle with opioid addiction, including Percocet or other prescription pills, addiction treatment can help you get on the path to recovery.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Laura Riley

Laura-Riley-Cropped-Profile-150x150Laura Riley, MA, LCADC, CCS is an Administrator with North Jersey Recovery Center.