Hydrocodone Abuse & Addiction in Orlando

What Makes Hydrocodone So Addictive?

Hydrocodone is a prescription drug used to treat moderate-to-severe pain. Hydrocodone can be prescribed either on its own or as a substance that is paired with others in medications. For example, hydrocodone is paired with acetaminophen in Lortab, Norco and Vicodin. Hydrocodone is classified as an opioid, which is a class of drugs that all can change how the brain emotionally responds to pain. Opioids like hydrocodone also change how pain signals are sent and how the body feels pain.

While hydrocodone is prescribed relatively frequently, the medication has risks. In the United States, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), classifies drugs based on their medical uses and their potential to be addictive. Hydrocodone, like many other prescription opioids, is a Schedule II drug, which means it has a high risk leadoff leading to addiction and physical dependence. Schedule II drugs are second only to Schedule I substances in addiction potential.

Hydrocodone activates opioid receptors located in the brain and the entire central nervous system. By interacting with these receptors, feel-good chemicals are released that trade feelings of pain for feelings of pleasure. Some people who use hydrocodone may experience a sense of relaxation, a feeling of well-being or euphoria.

When the this pleasing feeling occurs with the use of opioids, a reward cycle can form. The body can rely on the drug to relieve painful feelings, and the brain can link the use of the drug to positive experiences. By forming these connections between hydrocodone and pleasurable feelings, people can become addicted to the substance. Someone who is addicted to hydrocodone may continue using it despite negative consequences or side effects. When a physical dependence forms, withdrawal symptoms will occur if someone stops using the drug.

If someone is prescribed hydrocodone, there are steps they can take to lower the potential of becoming addicted. For example, it’s important not to use hydrocodone in any way other than what’s prescribed and instructed by a medical professional. Doses shouldn’t exceed than what was prescribed. However, even when someone follows their doctor’s orders and takes hydrocodone as prescribed, they can still become addicted.

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Signs of Hydrocodone Abuse

The signs of hydrocodone abuse and addiction are similar to that of other opioids. Hydrocodone and other opioids slow down the functions controlled by the central nervous system. The signs of hydrocodone abuse match the effects of the drug, which include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Slow or shallow breathing
  • Small pupils
  • Itchiness
  • Behavioral or mood changes

Abusing hydrocodone isn’t the same as being addicted to the substance. Hydrocodone abuse refers to any scenario where someone is using it other than how it’s prescribed to them or using the drug without a prescription. For example, taking someone else’s hydrocodone is considered abuse, although that doesn’t necessarily mean the person using the drug is addicted. Hydrocodone addiction is a diagnosable medical condition with specific symptoms.

Hydrocodone Abuse and Addiction in Orlando

According to the DEA, since 2009, hydrocodone has been the second-most frequently seen opioid medication in drug evidence. This includes evidence submitted to federal, state and local laboratories. If someone is experiencing symptoms of hydrocodone abuse and addiction, there are resources in Orlando that can help them. These resources include medical detox centers, as well as inpatient and outpatient rehab.

With a drug like hydrocodone, being proactive and seeking help sooner rather than later is important. Hydrocodone addiction can start like a seemingly small problem and grow into something very dangerous or deadly. It’s estimated that more than 46 people die every day from prescription painkiller overdoses in the United States.

Hydrocodone Abuse Facts and Statistics in Florida

Hydrocodone abuse facts and statistics can be troubling to read, not only facts and stats related to Florida but also ones nationwide. In 2016, there were 2,708 overdose deaths reported in Florida that were related to opioids. That’s a death rate of 14.4 deaths per 100,000 people, higher than the national death rate of 13.3 deaths per 100,000 people. However, these startling numbers aren’t just hydrocodone abuse statistics but rather figures for all kinds of opioids, and Florida has struggled with synthetic opioids like fentanyl.

According to the 2017 Medical Examiners Commission Interim Drug Report, the number of drug-related deaths in Florida increased 11 percent in the first half of 2017 as compared to the first half of 2016. Eight percent more people reportedly died with one or more prescription drugs discovered in their system. Hydrocodone was the primary cause of death for 104 people in Florida during the first half of 2017. It was also present in the systems of 253 people who died from drug overdoses. In total, hydrocodone was believed to be involved in 357 deaths in Florida during the first part of 2017.

While the hydrocodone abuse statistics and death rates are troubling, Florida is working to make changes. For several years, Florida has been changing the way prescription pain medications are given to patients. For example, the state has introduced new prescription drug monitoring programs. These monitoring programs watch for red flags regarding doctors or pharmacies that could be overprescribing opioids or filling large numbers of these prescriptions. There has been increased regulation of pain clinics, and the state has been working to make substance abuse programs more readily available to people.

For more information about hydrocodone abuse and addiction, or treatment options available in Orlando, contact the Orlando Recovery Center.

Medical Disclaimer: Orlando Recovery Center aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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