Smoking Oxycodone | Effects, Dangers, & Treatment

Smoking the opioid medication oxycodone can create serious side effects such as breathing problems as well as life-threatening dangers like an increased risk of overdose. Those with opioid addiction can access medical detox, medication-assisted treatment, and more.

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Oxycodone is a prescription opioid drug used for severe pain. The prescription drug is available in brand names such as Oxycontin and Percocet.

Oxycodone is a Schedule II controlled substance that can lead to psychological or physical dependence. Some may turn to opioid abuse by smoking, snorting, or injecting oxycodone.

Those who smoke oxycodone may experience issues with lung health as well as other serious side effects.

Side Effects Of Smoking Oxycodone

Pain relief is provided to those who take oxycodone as prescribed by their doctor. However, when smoked, the drug enters the bloodstream quickly, affecting the central nervous system (CNS) and creating intense feelings of euphoria.

To smoke the drug, the tablet must first be melted. The tablet is placed on tinfoil and heated. To inhale the vapors, a person can use a form of paraphernalia such as a straw.

Common Side Effects

There are various common side effects of oxycodone, including:

  • vomiting
  • constipation
  • tiredness
  • dry mouth
  • sedation
  • loss of appetite
  • lightheadedness
  • drowsiness
  • nausea

Any of these effects can become more heightened when oxycodone is smoked due to the drug entering the body so quickly.

Serious Side Effects

In addition to the more common effects, severe side effects of smoking oxycodone may include:

  • trouble with lung health
  • withdrawal symptoms
  • heart rate fluctuations
  • irregular menstruation for women
  • risk of overdose
  • difficulty maintaining an erection in men
  • low blood pressure
  • breathing difficulties
  • opioid overdose

Dangers Of Smoking Oxycodone

There are several dangers associated with smoking this painkiller because oxycodone is not designed for this method of administration.

Damage To Lung Health

Opioid use in the form of smoking oxycodone may create serious damage to your lungs. Breathing difficulties can occur and you may experience frequent infections.

Pneumonia may be more likely, as can the development of certain diseases. A chronic cough may develop in those who continue smoking oxycodone for a long period of time.

Your respiratory system can become inflamed, making it difficult for your body to fight off certain infections.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Per the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), withdrawal symptoms may take place when a person abruptly stops using oxycodone.

Opioid withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • mental health problems such as depression or anxiety
  • cravings for the drug
  • tremors
  • changes in mood
  • sleeping difficulties

Oxycodone Overdose

Those who consume large doses of oxycodone may experience a life-threatening overdose.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), symptoms of an opioid overdose can include:

  • fluctuations in blood pressure
  • extensive sleepiness
  • respiratory depression
  • clammy or cold skin
  • coma
  • convulsions
  • trouble breathing
  • death

If you suspect any type of overdose has taken place, those suffering from an opioid overdose may be administered naloxone (Narcan) by you as well as healthcare workers. This medication is specifically used to help reverse the effects of opioid overdose.

Oxycodone Addiction Treatment

Those with opioid addiction can access treatment services at a rehab facility. There are several treatment options to consider for opioid addiction.

Inpatient Care

Inpatient treatment may be recommended for oxycodone addiction. With inpatient care, you live at a treatment center full-time while having access to professional treatment services.

Inpatient treatment services include group therapy, individual behavioral therapy, peer and professional support, medical detox, and medication-assisted treatment.


In the beginning stages of substance abuse treatment, medical detoxification can be beneficial for helping you deal with opioid withdrawal symptoms. With detox, nurses and medical staff supervise your symptoms and support you with helpful services.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Medication-assisted treatment is specifically designed for opioid use disorder. Medications, including methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone, are administered alongside behavioral therapy and peer support groups to improve treatment outcomes.

To learn about the treatment options at Bedrock Recovery Center, please contact us today.

  1. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
  2. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  3. Journal of Adolescent Health
  4. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
  5. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus
  6. National Library of Medicine: StatPearls

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

Published on: August 25, 2023

© 2024 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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