Hydrocodone Addiction in the Workplace

Hydrocodone Addiction in the Workplace

Drug abuse is often associated with illegal drugs like cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine or heroin, but this is not necessarily the case. There is a growing number of people abusing prescription drugs such as hydrocodone. These drug users may be friends, family or coworkers. The federal Drug Enforcement Administration believes hydrocodone to be the most abused prescription drug in the nation. In the last 10 years, hydrocodone related emergency room visits have increased 500%.

Hydrocodone Abuse

Hydrocodone is a prescription narcotic that can produce effects similar to heroin or morphine. Few drugs are as pure as hydrocodone. It is usually combined with other non-narcotic ingredients to create medications such as Vicodin, Lorcet and Lortab. These combination drugs are often easier to access or get a prescription for. Products containing hydrocodone are regulated by federal law but are not controlled as severely as other powerful painkillers. Through “doctor shopping,” users are able to obtain large amounts of hydrocodone pills. Pills containing hydrocodone can be sold for $2-10 per tablet and $20-40 per 8 oz bottle on the street.

In 1998, there were over 56 million new prescriptions for hydrocodone. By 2000, that number had increased to 89 million. Since 1990, average consumption of hydrocodone had increased 500%.

Who Abuses Hydrocodone?

Hydrocodone is a widely abused drug. Published articles report TV personalities and professional athletes recovering from their abuse of hydrocodone. However, anybody can be affected by hydrocodone’s harmful effects. Every age group and demographic is affected by hydrocodone abuse and addiction. Hydrocodone use usually begins with a legitimate prescription for pain management. Patients become dependent on the drug and begin to feel hydrocodone is necessary for functioning in everyday life.

In the case of hydrocodone addiction, it is important to seek immediate medical attention. The first step of treatment will be detoxification. Under the supervision of a medical professional, the withdrawal symptoms can be monitored and managed. Detox usually takes about seven days, and recovery can be continued in residential treatment centers. The entire recovery process can take about 20 days and should be followed by outpatient therapy.

Hydrocodone in the Workplace

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 12.9 million out of 17.5 million drug users aged 18 years or older are employed either full or part time. Employers report drug users to be 25-30% less productive. They also miss work up to 3 times more than other employees. Hydrocodone users can cost their employers thousands because of the following:

  • Lost productivity
  • Inconsistent performance
  • Increased amount of  resources that are set aside to deal with addicted workers
  • Negative interpersonal relations that impact team work and production
  • Increased medical insurance payments

If an employee displays any of the following behaviors on a regular basis, it may indicate a drug problem:

  • Inconsistent work quality or decreased productivity
  • Not following through on work assignments, poor concentration, incomplete or careless work
  • Unpredictable arrival and departure times, prolonged lunch periods, unexplained and increased absences

Need Help for Hydrocodone Addiction?

If you or a coworker is struggling with hydrocodone addiction, call our toll-free number today. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day and can provide the information and resources you need for recovery. Recovery is possible, and help is waiting. Call today!