Is Hydrocodone Abuse Changing?

Is Hydrocodone Abuse Changing?

Hydrocodone is an opioid narcotic, a drug that treats pain either after surgery, as the result of an injury or from a chronic condition. It works in the central nervous system to change the way the body perceives pain, but it also produces feelings of euphoria. Unfortunately, hydrocodone is habit forming, so using it in larger amounts or for longer periods than prescribed can lead to addiction. Addiction to this drug is at almost epidemic levels in the US.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), deaths from overdosing on prescription painkillers have skyrocketed in the last decade. More than 15,000 people die each year from prescription painkillers alone, and one in 20 people over the age of 12 report having used prescription painkillers—like hydrocodone, methadone, oxycodone or morphine—for non-medical reasons in the past year.

Using hydrocodone for non-medical purposes can quickly lead to addiction. People who use hydrocodone to control pain are also at risk of addiction, especially if there is any personal or family history of addiction. Hydrocodone users can become tolerant to the drug, which means they will need more of it to produce the same level of relief. If people increase their dosage to feel relief, then they might develop dependence as they begin to need the drug to feel normal. Dependence leads to addiction as cravings for the substance become uncontrollable. Some additional symptoms of hydrocodone addiction include the following problems:

  • Needing a supply of the drug on hand at all times
  • Becoming preoccupied with getting and using the drug
  • Going into debt to get the drug
  • Engaging in dangerous activities while under the influence of the drug
  • Engaging in illegal activities—like stealing—to get more hydrocodone
  • “Doctor shopping” for new prescriptions
  • Sudden changes in physical appearance and relationships

If you or a loved one exhibits any of these symptoms of addiction, it is time to get help.

Several groups of people have higher risks for hydrocodone addiction. Given the current drug climate and the availability of the substance, the CDC reports that more women than men die from prescription drug overdose each year. Furthermore, middle-aged adults have the highest rate of prescription drug deaths. People in rural counties are two-times more likely to die from prescription drug abuse than people in the suburbs, and white, Native American and Alaskan Native adults are more likely to abuse prescription painkillers than other ethnic groups.

Find Help for Hydrocodone Addiction

If you or a loved one struggles with hydrocodone addiction, we can help. Call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline to speak to our admissions coordinators about treatment options.