Oxycodone is a prescription opioid with a high potential for abuse. It’s most commonly marked under the brand name OxyContin.
While OxyContin and other prescription painkillers can be very helpful when taken as prescribed, they can also be extremely dangerous when abused. This is especially true if a person is plugging opiates.
If a person is plugging oxycodone, that means they’re taking the drug rectally. While this may be a less-common way to abuse opiates, it does happen and it can be dangerous.
In fact, a few of the most severe potential side effects of plugging oxycodone may include:
- difficulty breathing
- damage to rectal tissues/membranes
- damage to intestines
- risk of addiction
- risk of overdose
Unfortunately, overdose deaths have been associated with the abuse of oxycodone. For this reason, oxycodone abuse should never be taken lightly.
How Do Opioids Work?
Opioid analgesics like oxycodone, oxymorphone, fentanyl, codeine, and hydrocodone may be able to relax the body and relieve pain. In other prescription medications, oxycodone is combined with drugs like acetaminophen.
In the United States, these drugs are generally used to treat pain that may range from moderate to severe.
Drugs like these work with opioid receptors that are found on cells throughout the body. Specifically, they affect the brain, spinal cord, and other areas that work with pain and pleasure.
The active chemical in OxyContin binds to opioid receptors and stops the brain from sending signals of pain to other places in the body. Additionally, a large amount of dopamine is released. This is what causes the desired effects of the drug.
Oxycodone typically comes as extended-release or immediate-release tablets, capsules, or a liquid solution.
If a person abuses opioids rectally, the ultimate effect of the drug is the same, but the method of ingestion works a little differently. When inserted into the rectum, the drug is absorbed through the membrane. Then, it travels to the brain much more quickly which leads to a faster onset time.
Side Effects Of Oxycodone
Whether oxycodone is being abused or taken as prescribed, there are a few unpleasant side effects that may be associated with it.
Common side effects of oxycodone may include:
- dry mouth
- pain in the stomach
- extreme tiredness
- changes in behavior or mood
These side effects may be worsened if oxycodone is being plugged. Oxycodone can also be especially dangerous if it’s mixed with other central nervous system depressants, including alcohol.
Dangers And Risks Of Plugging Oxycodone
Oxycodone can be a dangerous drug, even if it’s taken as prescribed at the recommended doses. Unfortunately, it can be particularly dangerous if it’s being abused.
Some of the most potentially severe and dangerous risks associated with oxycodone use may include:
- risk of addiction
- nausea or vomiting
- hives, rash, or itching
- drop in blood pressure
- increased risk of seizures
- sexual problems
- chest pain
- difficulty breathing
- extreme drowsiness
- respiratory depression
- withdrawal symptoms
Plugging oxycodone is one particularly risky method of drug abuse. In addition to the dangers listed above, plugging oxycodone may also lead to an increased risk of addiction and overdose.
Oxycodone Overdose Risk
An oxycodone overdose occurs when a person takes too much of the drug and experiences unpleasant, potentially life-threatening effects. Oxycodone overdoses may take the form of a seizure, respiratory depression, or sudden death due to an adverse reaction.
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It can be easy to accidentally overdose on a substance when it’s being taken rectally because the effects of the drug may wear off before the drug has completely left a person’s system.
Common symptoms of an oxycodone overdose may include:
- difficulty breathing
- extreme sleepiness
- limp or weak muscles
- changes in pupil size
- cold or clammy skin
- unconsciousness or coma
If you notice these symptoms in yourself or someone around you, seek emergency healthcare immediately. Naloxone can sometimes be used to treat an opioid overdose in an emergency situation.
Other Dangers Of Plugging Oxycodone
In addition to the side effects and risks listed above, there are additional dangers associated with plugging oxycodone.
While taking drugs orally, snorting them, or injecting them intravenously may typically be more common routes of administration, plugging drugs happens more than you may realize.
The risks of plugging can be potentially severe:
- poor blood circulation
- death of rectal tissue
- increased risk of getting STDs
- increased risk of contracting HIV or AIDS
- high potential for addiction
- high risk of overdose
When a person plugs opioids like oxycodone, they may experience a more intense high. This is because the bioavailability of drugs taken rectally is decreased in general, which can lead to a faster onset time. This may also mean the desired effects wear off much faster.
Even after the effects have worn off, there’s usually still a significant amount of the drug in the body. This can cause a person to take more oxycodone before the first dose has been cycled out.
Because of these factors, plugging opioids may lead to an increased risk of opioid addiction and opioid overdose.
Treatment Options For Oxycodone Abuse
If a person is plugging OxyContin, a substance use disorder has likely developed. There are several treatment options available for oxycodone abuse, including inpatient treatment and outpatient programs. Recovery may include medication-based treatments such as methadone or naltrexone.
If you or a loved one may be plugging OxyContin, don’t wait to get help. Reach out to an AddictionResource.net treatment specialist today to find the best treatment center and program for you.
Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.
These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.
- Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) — Oxycodone
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — OxyContin
- National Institutes of Health: National Institute on Drug Abuse — Misuse of Prescription Drugs Research Report
- National Institutes of Health: National Institute on Drug Abuse — Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment
- National Institutes of Health: MedlinePlus — Oxycodone