Hydrocone Addiction

Hydrocone Addiction

Hydrocodone addiction continues to grow as a significant drug addiction problem in the United States. The media often focuses on illegal drugs: big cocaine busts, methamphetamine labs, and steroid abuse grab the headlines.

However, lurking in medicine cabinets throughout America is a bottle of pills with one of the highest potentials for abuse and addiction: Vicodin.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) considers Vicodin and its generic cousin hydrocodone to be one of the most abused prescription drug.  Every year more people find themselves addicted to these yellow pills and many of them end up in emergency rooms.

Hydrocodone is a narcotic drug commonly prescribed to relieve moderate to severe pain. It produces a euphoric feeling similar to heroin or morphine. It comes under many brands:  Anexsia, Dolorex Forte, Hycet, Liquicet, Lorcet 10/650, Lorcet Plus, Lortab 10/500, Lortab 2.5/500, Lortab 5/500, Lortab 7.5/500, Lortab Elixir, Maxidone, Norco, Polygesic, Stagesic, Vicodin, Vicodin ES, Vicodin HP, Xodol, Xodol 5, and Zydone.

Typical hydrocodone formulations are considered Schedule III narcotics, which means their use and prescription are regulated by Federal law. However, because they are not considered as dangerous as more powerful pain killers such as morphine, they are more easily obtained and abused. They may be sold in illegal online pharmacies or obtained through prescription fraud or by “doctor shopping” to get multiple prescriptions. Because abusers develop tolerance for the drug they often need larger and larger dosages to get the same effect. Therefore, abusers take more and more desperate measures to get their “fix.”

Because of the development of tolerance, abusers can become addicted within 1-4 weeks of use if they continue to increase their dosage.  Media stories abound of high profile movie stars and professional athletes who have become addicted to hydrocodone-based pain killers.

The typical road to addiction begins with a legitimate prescription written to resolve pain after surgery or a moderate to severe injury.  The user becomes immune to the pain relief and increases the dose, going beyond the recommended daily dosage. At that point the patient might request a refill. At this point stories diverge – some doctors suggest an over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory such as Advil or Aleve, others willingly refill the prescription without question.

The problem begins when the patient and doctor stop exploring options for pain relief and the patient takes the pain medication for too extended a period of time and develops true dependence.

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