Vicodin and Percocet are each classified as Schedule II prescription opioids, and, as legal substances, can be insidious as they are commonly habit-forming and lethal when abused. Unlike illicit drugs, prescription narcotics are accessible and replenishable due to the chronic pain they treat. As opioids, Vicodin and Percocet factor into the ongoing opioid epidemic as there are over 153 million active opioid prescriptions in circulation within the U.S. today. Each of these substances can lead to overdose fatality, however, they are even more dangerous when combined. To understand the severity of combining these two drugs, it is important to understand the effects of each individually.
Vicodin is a narcotic analgesic and semi-synthetic opioid, consisting of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. As an opioid, Vicodin provides short-term pain relief by attaching to opioid receptors in the brain. The drug is categorized as a semi-synthetic substance, being formulated in a lab to include acetaminophen. Synthetic and semi-synthetic opioids are at the center of the current opioid epidemic due to their highly addictive qualities. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Between 8 and 12 percent of people prescribed an opioid for chronic pain develop an opioid use disorder.
Similar to Vicodin, Percocet is a semi-synthetic opioid, consisting of oxycodone and acetaminophen. Percocet is more potent than Vicodin due to its oxycodone component and, although both drugs remain at high risk for abuse, there is a higher risk of developing an addiction to Percocet. Despite being a main contributor to the current drug epidemic, the rate of prescription for semi-synthetic opioids isn’t decreasing. In 2019 alone, there were a reported 153,260,450 active opioid prescriptions as stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Vicodin and Percocet
Combining these two prescription opioids should be avoided at all costs. The individual potency of each drug is strong enough to lead to fatal overdose, and, when combined, the likelihood increases exponentially. As opioids, these substances alleviate pain while also depressing the cardiac and respiratory systems. If taken in excess, full cardiac and respiratory failure can occur, leading to heart attacks, seizures, breathing cessation, and death. The graph below displays the steady incline in overdose deaths involving prescribed opioids within the last two decades.
Another, lesser-known hazard of consuming these two drugs simultaneously is liver toxicity and failure due to high acetaminophen absorption. According to the Food and Drug Administration, there are approximately 400 acetaminophen-related deaths in the U.S. each year attributed to acetaminophen overdose and associated liver damage. The FDA has since recommended that Percocet, Vicodin, and every other acetaminophen/prescription drug combination be limited in their sales due to this harrowing statistic.
Asheville Recovery Center Can Help
Vicodin and Percocet can be both highly addictive and life-threatening when abused on their own; especially when combined. That is why it is extremely important to seek help immediately if you or a loved one is struggling with any substance addiction. At Asheville Recovery Center, treatment specialists have developed a unique, hybrid model of treatment which combines a traditional 12-step program with holistic rehabilitation. A multitude of services, programs, and therapies are offered, including the Partial Hospitalization Program, Residential-style treatment, outpatient rehabilitation, and more.
The founders of Asheville Recovery Center, as well as many of our addiction therapists, have struggled with addiction and now enjoy life in recovery. They understand the struggles of addiction and how difficult it is to overcome alone. If you feel that you or a loved one is struggling with drug abuse, our specialists are on standby and ready to help. Call ((828)383-0784 and speak with an addiction expert today.