Hydrocodone Addiction 101

February 5, 2017

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Hydrocodone Addiction

If you don’t know much about hydrocodone addiction, this Hydrocodone 101 is a good way to learn more about the drug.

When it comes to pain relief, hydrocodone is one of the most effective and widely prescribed medicines available today.  It is prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain.  Hydrocodone is a class of drug known as opioids.  Although the terms opioid and opiate are often used interchangeably, there is a discernable difference between the two.

The difference between opiates and opioids can be described as follows:

  • Opiate:  contains or is derived from opium or the opium poppy plant.  Drugs such as morphine, thebaine, codeine are examples of natural opiates.
  • Opioid:  a synthetic or semi-synthetic drug that gives the same effects as opium.  Examples of opioids are heroin, oxycodone, and hydrocodone.

Despite the differences between the two classes of drugs, each of them are among the most popular pain relieving substances on the market today.

Some Facts About the History of Hydrocodone

Hydrocodone got its beginnings in the early 1920s in Germany.  Scientists at Knoll Pharmaceuticals were attempting to make codeine less addictive and easier on the stomach.  By changing the molecular structure of codeine, they developed hydrocodone.

Later, in 1929, an American pharmacologist was assigned the task of assessing the side effects and safety of hundreds of drugs, with hydrocodone as one of the group.  After extensive testing, the results of this study showed that hydrocodone was effective as a painkiller, but it could cause euphoric effects and led to dependency in the animals being used as test subjects.  In other words, the drug was shown to be addictive.

Since the 1970s, all drugs have been categorized according to the classifications established under the US Controlled Substances Act.  For instance, hydrocodone is classified as a Schedule II drug.

As a Schedule II drug, the following characteristics are present:

  • Has a high potential for abuse
  • Has a legitimate medical use
  • May lead to physical or psychological dependence

Consequently, other drugs such as acetaminophen that contain less than 15 milligrams of hydrocodone were listed as Schedule III drugs, meaning:

  • The drug has a potential for abuse that is less than Schedule II drugs
  • Has an accepted medical use
  • May lead to moderate physical or psychological dependence

Regardless of the strict controls enforced by the government, law enforcement, and the medical community, hydrocodone remains readily available on the streets and through legitimate prescriptions as well.

Statistics On Hydrocodone Addiction Reveal a Shocking Truth

Hydrocodone addiction and abuse has become a national epidemic.  From “pill mills” in many states, unscrupulous “doctors,” and street dealers, illicit hydrocodone can be easily obtained.

To further illustrate the scope of the problem, the following facts reveal a shocking truth:

  • Overdose deaths in Florida (where pill mills abound) rose by 61% during a six-year period, with more than seven people dying each day from hydrocodone overdose.
  • ER reports across the US show hydrocodone-related treatment has increased by 500% since 1990.
  • More than 130 million prescriptions for hydrocodone products were written in one year across the US.
  • In 2008, more than 14,800 deaths were attributed to hydrocodone and oxycodone overdose.
  • Pharmacies dispensed 42 tons of pure hydrocodone in 2010.
  • The CDC reports that drug overdose is now the leading cause of death by injury.
  • More people die every day from drug overdose than from auto accidents.

In conclusion, the important thing to remember about hydrocodone is that it can be life-altering or life-threatening when abused.  Anyone using this drug for pain relief is strongly advised to follow the dosage instructions precisely.  Likewise, if you notice any changes in the effectiveness of the drug, contact your physician immediately.

To learn more about hydrocodone addiction or for information about treatment for hydrocodone addiction, call our toll-free number today.  One of our team is available day or night to assist you.

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