||The drugs themselves are the same. The preparations are different. Oxycontin contains more oxycodone than percocet, but it is also prepared as a "sustained release", or "time release". This means they can give a large dose, which will slowly be released over a period of time to maintain a steady concentration in the body. Recreational users crush the Oxycontin pills, releasing the oxycodone from its microencapsulation, and getting a high dosage of powder (which contains binders and fillers making it inappropriate for injection and increasing the damage done by snorting).|
There are plans in the works to create a new preparation of Oxycontin which would also contain microencapsulated naloxone (an opiate antagonist which blocks the effects of opiates). With this product, if the pill is taken orally, the naloxone would be released and the opiate would have its desired effects. But if the pill is crushed then the naloxone would also be released along with the oxycodone and the opiate would no longer be effective. The manufacturer is working to develop this (or a similar) product but it now looks that it will be several years before such a product hits the market.
One of the most important things to note about the current Oxycontin products is that for inexperienced uses, a single crushed pill could result in a fatal overdose because the oxycodone is released quickly into the system instead of the intended sustained release. Once the body has become habituated to the opiates (in the short term), users can tolerate much higher doses safely, but this is one of the more common ways people get into trouble with opiates and what causes many deaths with other opiates (heroin, etc).