The Realities of Dilaudid
The brand name for hydromorphone, Dilaudid, is a drug that is used to relieve moderate to severe pain and severe, painful dry coughing. A derivative of morphine, it is a centrally-acting analgesic drug of the opioid class. In many countries, this drug is replacing morphine and heroin when one or both of the drugs are unavailable. The drug tends to have a faster onset and less dependence liability than that of its counterparts.
For prescription use, Dilaudid is available in a tablet in multiple strengths that are meant to be swallowed whole. Tablets have been found to be available in both pink and teal colors. Suppositories and oral liquid formulas are also available. When the drug is abused, tablets are used by swallowing, crushing and then snorting or dissolved in water to be cooked for intravenous injection.
Dilaudid and its generic hydromorphone appear on the street 99 percent of the time from patients selling prescriptions, armed robbery and burglary of pharmacies. Slang terms for the drug include D, dilly, dillies, dill, k4, k1, k2, k3, k8, M8, Big D, Super 8, Hydro, M-80s, white triangle, moose, hospital heroin, drugstore heroin, shake & bake, peaches, and others.
While Dilaudid is considered to have a lower dependence liability than morphine, it still offers high dependency potential. Addiction or dependency can occur when the drug is used for longer than a few weeks or when it is used in high doses. Those who have been dependent on alcohol or other drugs in the past generally have a greater chance of becoming dependent on Dilaudid.
Those who abuse or overdose on Dilaudid show very obvious signs of use, although they mimic that of other opioid drugs. Any notice of the following symptoms or signs should trigger a 911 call:
• Respiratory depression
• Somnolence progressing to stupor
• Skeletal muscle flaccidity
• Cold and clammy skin
• Constricted pupils
• Circulatory collapse
• Cardiac arrest
The euphoria created by the increasing use of Dilaudid becomes harder and harder to achieve as more of the drug is needed over time to achieve the desired effect. This increases the use and abuse. The user over time will show increased and desperate dependence on the drug.
When under a doctor’s care, patients legally taking Dilaudid are gradually taken off the drug to reduce the impact of the withdrawal. At the same time, those addicted to the drug should scale back slowly as quitting “cold turkey” can create significant adverse effects within the body and the brain.
It is recommended that Dilaudid abusers enter a detox center for 24/7 treatment as withdrawal can be intense and patients can have severe reactions to the loss of the drug in their system. Once detox treatment is complete, it is also necessary for the patient to receive ongoing counseling and support to address the issues that led to the dependency and abuse in the first place. Such an approach helps to limit the likelihood of relapse.