Is Hydrocodone Addictive?
Hydrocodone is a medication that is used as a cough suppressant and as an analgesic to treat moderate to severe pain. It is the most widely prescribed opiate medication in the United States.
Hydrocodone is most often sold in pill form in combination with other analgesic medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. It is available by prescription under a number of different brand names and generic products. Cough suppressant medications commonly combine hydrocodone with an antihistamine or expectorant.
Hydrocodone is a semi-synthetic opioid closely related to codeine and morphine. This powerful opioid analgesic possesses a strong potential for abuse. The risk of developing an addiction to hydrocodone varies from person to person depending upon an individual’s unique biological make-up. However, in recent years non-medical use of hydrocodone has increased dramatically.
Hydrocodone addiction is prevalent across America and produces a number of personal and societal challenges including accidental overdoses, medical emergencies, increased crime, and other short and long-term negative health effects.
Repeated use of hydrocodone by individuals who misuse the drug results in physiological tolerance and psychological dependence. Individuals who misuse the medication in order to experience the euphoria it produces must take more of it in order to achieve the same effect. Abruptly stopping hydrocodone produces withdrawal symptoms.
Abuse of hydrocodone is widespread in part, because it is relatively easy to get. The addictive properties of hydrocodone create a constant demand for the drug. However, hydrocodone is not produced in underground laboratories like some illegal drugs, but is instead diverted from legitimate sources by individuals involved in illicit activity including prescription altering and fraud, doctor shopping, bogus internet supplying, or theft.
People question “Is Hydrocodone Addictive?”
In the past, people questioned whether or not hydrocodone was addictive, as there was the mistaken belief that the medication was safe because of the number of doctors prescribing it. Abuse of hydrocodone was viewed by some as a “white collar” addiction.
It is now understood that addiction to hydrocodone can happen to anyone regardless of age, socio-economic status, or ethnicity. There are reports that adolescents and children are gaining access to the medication and becoming addicted, a trend that has addiction experts concerned.
Hydrocodone addiction is particularly dangerous as the combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen places a person at risk of liver damage from consuming too much of the acetaminophen contained within each pill. As a person develops tolerance to the hydrocodone and requires a larger amount in order to get high, they may be ingesting enough acetaminophen to induce liver toxicity. Some people are unaware that hydrocodone pills contain acetaminophen.
Hydrocodone abuse may take several forms. Most people who misuse the medication take the pills orally. Sometimes the pills are chewed or crushed and then snorted. Some people crush the pills and then dissolve the powder in water in order to inject the drug. Combining hydrocodone with other drugs or alcohol is especially unsafe as the sedative effects of the hydrocodone may be intensified causing respiratory depression.