Oxycodone stays in your system for about 24 hours. That means most people should wait at least one day after their last dose before drinking alcohol. Like other opioids, oxycodone can have life-threatening side effects when mixed with alcohol.
Other people should wait even longer. The specific amount of time you should wait depends on personal factors, such as:
- how much oxycodone you used
- how long you have been using oxycodone
- your overall health
To determine exactly how long you should wait, talk to your healthcare provider. However, no matter how long it has been since your last dose of oxycodone, remember to drink in moderation.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines moderate drinking as having 1 drink or less per day for women and having 2 drinks or less per day for men. Moderate drinking reduces your risk of alcohol-related health problems, including alcohol addiction.
Dangers Of Mixing Alcohol & Oxycodone
Both alcohol and oxycodone are central nervous system (CNS) depressants. That means they slow down your brain activity, which makes you feel calm and relaxed. They can also have unpleasant side effects, such as:
- slurred speech
- poor coordination
- blurry vision
- mood swings
- nausea and vomiting
- low blood pressure
Mixing alcohol and oxycodone makes you more likely to experience these side effects. It also raises your risk of overdose and addiction.
Both alcohol and oxycodone slow down your breathing and heart rate. When you mix the drugs, your breathing and heart rate may slow to the point of a life-threatening overdose. Common signs of an overdose include:
- respiratory depression (slow, ineffective breathing)
- slow pulse
- smaller pupils
- cold, clammy, or bluish skin
- bluish lips and/or fingernails
- loss of consciousness
When left untreated, an alcohol and oxycodone overdose can cause brain damage or death.
If you or someone you know experiences the above symptoms, call 911 right away. You should also administer naloxone if you have it. Naloxone (brand name Narcan) is a medication that can quickly reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
Alcohol and oxycodone are both highly addictive. That’s because they flood your brain with dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter (brain chemical) associated with pleasure, motivation, and reward. Your brain produces it naturally during pleasurable activities like eating and having sex.
However, when you regularly abuse drugs, the excess dopamine causes your brain to produce less dopamine naturally. As a result, you will find it difficult to feel pleasure without drugs.
Using alcohol and oxycodone together may increase your risk of addiction. Common symptoms of this disease include:
- feeling unable to stop using a drug even if you want to
- losing interest in activities that don’t involve drug use
- falling behind at work or school
- avoiding family members and friends
- needing increasingly larger or more frequent amounts of a drug to feel the desired effects (also called tolerance)
- withdrawal symptoms after you stop use (physical dependece)
Most withdrawal symptoms are not life-threatening. However, some people experience a severe form of alcohol called delirium tremens, which can have fatal complications. Common symptoms of delirium tremens include:
- hallucinations (seeing, hearing, or feeling things that aren’t there)
When left untreated, an addiction to oxycodone and alcohol can lead to damaged relationships, job loss, and other challenges. It also increases your risk of various health problems, including depression, heart disease, and liver disease.
Treatment Options For Oxycodone & Alcohol Addiction
If you or someone you love struggles with oxycodone or alcohol addiction, seek help at a substance abuse treatment program. These programs offer a variety of services to help you become drug-free, including:
- medical detox, in which doctors help you slowly and safely stop using drugs with minimal withdrawal symptoms
- behavioral therapy, in which a therapist helps you change unhelpful beliefs and behaviors related to your drug use
- medication-assisted treatment, in which doctors prescribe medications to ease cravings and withdrawal symptoms
- support groups, in which you can discuss your experiences with other people recovering from addiction
To learn more about addiction treatment options, please reach out to a Recovering Champions specialist. Our treatment providers offer personalized, evidence-based care to help you or your loved one stay healthy and sober.