There is a growing crisis in the U.S. relating to hydrocodone addiction. The headlines cover other drug use but hydrocodone addiction is quite close to their levels as one of the most widely abused rugs of choice and addiction behind other illegal drugs like cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine, and heroin. Within the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration, it is believed to be the most abused prescription drug. Emergency room visits relating to hydrocodone abuse have soared 500 percent while its use nationwide in the last ten years has quadrupled.
While producing the calm, euphoric state much like heroin or morphine, hydrocodone is a narcotic whose obvious benefits in pain relief and control are recognized, the chronic addiction to it is becoming obvious. As a Schedule II narcotic in its pure form it is therefore closely controlled and restricted at pharmacies. The prescription drugs however are not based on pure hydrocodone, but rather it is mixed with other non-narcotic ingredients to produce well-known drugs such as Vicodin and Lortab. These drugs however get a Schedule III designation with easier distribution and usage restrictions.
It is believed by many medical experts that addiction or a dependence can occur at higher dosage levels in as little as one to four weeks, depending on individual tolerance levels. The debilitating effects are often reported in the press with the reports of various high profile movie stars, TV personalities and professional athletes reported as in recovery from their addiction to Hydrocodone.
The withdrawal symptoms, usually not life-threatening, will usually start within six to twelve hours for a regular user who stops taking hydrocodone. The degree of addiction dictates the intensity of the withdrawal symptoms. There are cases of the symptoms growing stronger for a period of twenty-four to seventy-two hours and then declining for the next seven to fourteen days. There is no standard period to be expected for withdrawal symptoms to subside as the period will vary greatly based on their previous usage patterns.
Withdrawal symptoms for Hydrocodone include:
Intense cravings for the drug
Nausea or vomiting
Runny nose or eyes
Inability to sleep
Hydrocodone is very effective for its intended uses as an anti-cough or pain control drug while being used as an antitussive or as an opiate as an analgesic. In all respects, Hydrocodone acts like morphine. Doses for similar effect are lower than codeine and slightly higher than morphine.
The abuse of Hydrocodone is showing increases in the non-hronic pain sufferers. This isn’t a drug of the inner city but rather the elite, the famous actor, a suburban real estate agent, or your next-door neighbor. The first time use is seen primarily with oxycodone and painkillers made with hydrocodone.
Side effects of hydrocodone use include:
Decreased mental & physical performance
Exaggerated feeling of depression
Extreme calm (sedation)
Exaggerated sense of well-being
Nausea & vomiting rash
Tightness in chest.