Monday, November 12th, 2018

Can you snort OxyContin?

November 7, 2012 by  
Filed under OxyContin

Can you snort OxyContin?

Can you snort OxyContin?

 

Can you snort OxyContin?

OxyContin is the brand name for the time-release formulation of the prescription, narcotic medication oxycodone. It is normally prescribed to treat severe pain, and has been notorious in the news in recent years because of the rampant illicit use (e.g. users who snort OxyContin) and diversion of the drug.

OxyContin is formulated in a way that makes it time-release. This means that if you take the drug like you are supposed to (orally) your stomach digests the time-release binders or coating and slowly releases a little of the drug at a time. That is why OxyContin has such a high amount of oxycodone in it- it wasn’t intended to be taken all in one dose. Instead, it was meant to control pain over a long period of time.

OxyContin: Evolution of the drug

OxyContin, in its original formulation, was pretty easy to snort. You simply removed the outer time-release coating. The ease with which you could break the drug down and either shoot (inject) or snort OxyContin was a big factor in it becoming the drug of choice for abusers. Before the release of OxyContin, all formulations of oxycodone contained an NSAID, which limited its potential for abuse. The NSAID component of the drugs also restricted the routes of administration to oral ingestion. When OxyContin was released, abusers realized that they could crush the pill to release pure oxycodone (up to 80mg in one pill), which allowed larger doses and by additional routes of administrations such as intravenous (shooting) and intranasal (snorting).

Once public outcry over those who were abusing the drug became great enough, lawmakers pressured manufacturers to create a version that would make it more difficult to shoot and snort OxyContin. They added extra binders, and now it is definitely harder to do, but I know of at least a few determined users who have figured out how to snort Oxycontin in its new formulation.

OxyContin: Why would you want to?

Different routes of administration (e.g. swallowing, snorting, injecting) result in different bioavailability for different drugs. Bioavailability of drugs refers to the amount of drug that actually reaches systemic circulation unchanged or in its active form. People who want to snort OxyContin often do so in the hopes that the bioavailability (and thus the effect) of the oxycodone will be stronger.

In general, nasal insufflation (snorting) causes a faster onset then other routes of administration, and the bioavailability of drugs is usually (but not always) higher than oral administration. This bioavailability occurs due to the quick absorption of the drug into the bloodstream through the soft tissue in the sinus cavity. Nasal absorption of oxycodone is not great, so the bioavailability of oxycodone is actually higher if you swallow it (without the time-release capsule) than if you snort OxyContin. Oxycodone does, however, have a faster onset if you snort it.

If you snort OxyContin, you do run a much higher risk of overdose because of the high amount of oxycodone contained in OxyContin. Should you snort OxyContin? No. Take your medication as prescribed by your doctor and on the label ONLY.

 

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