Hydrocodone is a powerful class of opiate pain relievers that goes by brand names Vicodin, Norco, and Lortab. It combines hydrocodone and acetaminophen. It’s also highly addictive if taken long-term, so it’s vital to take for pain, but only temporary, so tolerance doesn’t start. The effects of hydrocodone include a euphoric feeling, increased sense of well-being, numbness, sleepiness, lethargy, and reduced worry and stress. If people continue taking it, it can lead to addiction. More and more of the drug is then needed to achieve the same effect.
Unfortunately, when tolerance begins, the person who was initially given it for pain craves the drug. This is due to the tolerance progressing more slowly than other opiates. When a person tries to quit, they may be unable to and need help getting off the drug.
Symptoms can be different for each person, but commonly, they include:
In 2010, over 131,000 prescriptions were given to patients, up from 112,000 in 2006. Opiate addiction has increased since then and has now become a crisis. It is the most dispensed drug on the market and is why so many people have become addicted. The Drug Enforcement Administration reports that 24.4 million people aged 12 and up have used hydrocodone for non-medical purposes in the last month.
Over 99 percent of hydrocodone abuse is in the United States. Other countries have banned the use of hydrocodone for any medical purposes, but the U.S. rates have remained high. Production quotas have increased by nearly two and a half times in the past decade, with the most increases from 2011 to 2013, with an increase of 20,000 units every year.
There are several hazards linked to hydrocodone abuse. These include:
A person needs to be monitored carefully while detoxing, to overcome addiction to hydrocodone. Many withdrawal symptoms can occur, so an addict must be under the supervision of a health professional. Medication can be administered to help with withdrawal effects, along with counseling and therapy to learn coping skills and relapse prevention. A residential treatment center is recommended for severe addiction.