The use of illegal street drugs has been a problem for many years; but now there’s another frightening trend gaining popularity at an alarming rate: the abuse of prescription medication. Teens and young adults in particular state that prescription medications are more easily accessible than illegal drugs. Likely due to the obtainability of these substances, more young people have also experimented with prescription drugs than street drugs.
Although a majority of individuals carry the belief that prescription drugs are safer than illegal substances because they’re prescribed by a physician, this certainly isn’t true. These substances can be just as dangerous and addictive as illegal drugs, making the abuse of them even more terrifying. Some of the most commonly abused prescription medications include stimulants, depressants and painkillers like hydrocodone.
Hydrocodone Is an Opioid Analgesic
Sometimes also referred to as a narcotic, hydrocodone is known as an opioid analgesic. An analgesic is any drug that falls into the category of substances used to reach analgesia – or pain relief. Hydrocodone is taken orally and used to treat moderate to severe pain. In some cases, it’s administered as a cough suppressant.
The substance works by acting on the brain and changing the way it interprets pain waves, essentially tricking the body into ignoring the pain. Hydrocodone generally is combined with another ingredient – such as acetaminophen – when it’s in tablet form, giving it additional benefits. However, while the substance is intended to treat pain, it also carries its own risks and other negative elements.
The Effects of Hydrocodone Users Seek to Experience
The effects of hydrocodone seem to be alluring to those who abuse the substance. While individuals have different excuses for abusing the medication, there are a few desirable effects that tend to be among the most attractive to users. Relief from pain is the top reason stated, as many users started out taking hydrocodone for pain control.
As use of the substance continues, the feelings of euphoria and tranquility quickly become addicting. A number of users also report a warm feeling or numbing sensation throughout the body. Despite the possible benefits and desirable effects of hydrocodone, the substance is highly dangerous and should never be taken improperly.
Abusing Hydrocodone Is a Dangerous Practice
Developed from the opium poppy, hydrocodone has a number of obvious benefits. The drug, however, has gained popularity as a recreational substance. Though safe when used according to the prescribing doctor’s recommendations, hydrocodone carries numerous risks when abused.
Whether the effects of abusing the substance are short- or long-term, they’re dangerous and possibly even life-threatening. Some of the most common effects of hydrocodone include:
-Nausea and vomiting
-Constipation or otherwise upset stomach
-Restlessness or trouble sleeping
-Drowsiness or dizziness
-Depressed or slowed breathing
-Loss of consciousness
-Anxiety or depression
-Fuzzy or clouded thinking
-Impaired judgment or memory
-Trouble concentrating or thinking normally
-Changes in mood or behavior
-Breathing problems or chest pain/tightness
-Tolerance and dependence
-Withdrawal symptoms when trying to stop use
-Coma or death from overdose
Tolerance to a drug has occurred when a person has to consume more of the substance than they’d normally need to achieve the desired effects. Tolerance can be built up nearly immediately, or over time; however, some prescription medications tend to take less time to create tolerance than others.
Dependence, when referring to drug use, is essentially addiction. Dependence is a situation in which an individual feels the need to ingest the substance to function normally, or to avoid withdrawal symptoms. It typically develops over a period of time, during which the drug is improperly used or is overused.
Withdrawal symptoms are another common problem among hydrocodone abusers. When a substance is used for a long period of time, or is overused during a time period, withdrawal symptoms may occur when attempting to reduce or eliminate usage. If the use is extreme, it’s generally recommended that the individual attends a qualified facility to receive assistance during the detoxification period.
In addition to the adverse physical impact experienced from hydrocodone abuse, there are also several other effects drug abuse can cause. Users sometimes lie, steal or cheat to hide their drug use or to get more of the substance. Because of the negative things addicts do to continue using, their personal lives can suffer as well. Many individuals who abuse hydrocodone may find it hard to keep friendships, intimate relationships or employment. The list of potential adverse effects of hydrocodone abuse is seemingly endless, so caution should always be exercised when taking this medication.
Although hydrocodone is intended to improve the patient’s quality of life, it seems to carry a high number of risk factors. Misusing or overusing a medication for the purpose of getting high is extremely dangerous and should never be considered. Sharing, selling, trading or giving away a prescription medication isn’t only hazardous, but also highly illegal. An individual who’s prescribed this drug should always keep a close eye on it to ensure its safekeeping – especially around those who may be likely to misuse it.
Any questions or concerns should be thoroughly discussed with the prescribing physician. However, if you or anyone you know has an addiction, has questions or would like additional information, please feel free to call the helpline at 800-447-9081. Operators can provide information on additional resources, if needed. It’s never too late to take that first step.