Oxycodone is a narcotic pain medication derived from the opium poppy. It is prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain and is among the most frequently abused prescription drugs. When taken with beer and other depressants, oxycodone can cause dangerous health effects including slowed breathing and cardiac arrest.
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Oxycodone is a potent pain reliever similar to morphine. It is often prescribed for post-surgical pain resulting from dental work and other invasive procedures. Other uses for oxycodone include treating lower back pain, severe arthritis, acute injury and other forms of moderate to severe pain. Beer is an alcoholic beverage brewed from fermented grain and hops. It is mainly consumed for its mood- and mind-altering effects and has no known medicinal uses. Less often, beer may be used in cooking, though not in significant amounts.
Oxycodone attaches to the body's opiate receptors to produce its effects. It directly affects the central nervous system to alter the brain’s perception of pain, making it an efficient analgesic. For some people, oxycodone produces side effects that may be perceived as pleasurable, such as euphoria and increased energy. These effects can lead to abuse and addiction. Beer is a central nervous system depressant that increases levels of a neurotransmitter known as GABA, or gamma-aminobutyric acid. Elevated levels of GABA caused by beer consumption can lead to effects like loss of coordination, reduced inhibitions and memory impairment.
While each substance can be dangerous on its own, combining beer and oxycodone is even more risky. Because both substances slow breathing and heart rate, consuming them together increases the risk for respiratory depression, cardiac arrest and death. Combining the two also puts the user at risk for self-injury because of impaired coordination and motor control. Other effects include nausea, vomiting, memory loss and reduced cognitive functioning.
Addiction and Abuse
When used frequently, both beer and oxycodone are capable of producing addiction. According to the National Institutes of Health, alcohol and opiates interact in the brain to produce a type of addiction that is often harder to treat than either addiction alone. Withdrawal from alcohol can be fatal in some instances and should only be performed under medical supervision, according to Psychology Today. While opiates like oxycodone do not generally cause fatal withdrawals, some of the newer rapid detoxification methods used to help addicts get clean can cause death and other complications.
Taking oxycodone and alcohol together increases the risk for fatal overdose. Never attempt to drive or operate machinery under the influence of either substance. If overdose is suspected, seek immediate medical attention.