Vicodin Abuse and Addiction in Orlando

Vicodin pills next to the human body

Vicodin is a brand-name prescription drug. It’s classified as an opioid analgesic or a narcotic. Vicodin is used for the treatment of moderate-to-severe pain. In some cases, it’s prescribed to treat chronic pain. Vicodin is a schedule II controlled substance, meaning that while it has medical uses, it also has a high abuse potential. Vicodin contains a combination of hydrocodone, which is an opioid, and acetaminophen.

What is Vicodin?

What does Vicodin do? Vicodin is believed to relieve pain in multiple ways. Hydrocodone is a central nervous system depressant and interacts with the central nervous system’s opioid receptors. Opioids like hydrocodone can change the way someone senses pain, and it may also change how pain signals are sent to the brain. Acetaminophen is added to improve Vicodin’s pain-relieving effects.

Is Vicodin Addictive?

For a long time, Vicodin was prescribed to patients for minor pain such as that related to dental problems. In recent years, there has been a significant effort to try and curb the over-prescribing of Vicodin and other opioids. Opioids like hydrocodone are highly addictive. When someone takes Vicodin, they may experience not only pain relief but a euphoric or pleasant high because of the drug’s effects on the brain. This effect can trigger a reward response. When that happens, the brain is compelled to want to seek out whatever created the reward response, and this is how addiction develops.

Before a doctor prescribes Vicodin to anyone, they should go over their full medical history. This includes a person’s history of substance abuse or addiction. Using Vicodin only for a short period of time and exactly as prescribed can lower the risk of becoming addicted, but that risk doesn’t altogether disappear. Along with addiction, a dependence to Vicodin can form as well. When someone’s dependent on Vicodin, they will experience symptoms of withdrawal if they stop using the drug.

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Vicodin isn’t dangerous solely because of the potential for addiction and dependence. One of the primary risks of using any opioid is overdose. When the opioid receptor sites are affected by hydrocodone, it can slow down central nervous system’s functionality. The central nervous system controls essential functions such as breathing, heart rate and blood pressure.

If a person takes a dose of Vicodin that’s higher than what their central nervous system can handle, their breathing may slow to a dangerous or deadly level. There is also a risk due to the presence of acetaminophen. At normal doses, acetaminophen is considered a safe medication. At higher doses, it can cause liver damage, including acute liver failure.

Vicodin Addiction Statistics

Vicodin addiction can form quickly, which is the same for other prescription opioids. Vicodin is a significant part of the opioid epidemic in the United States. The opioid epidemic refers to the staggering number of overdose deaths related to the drug class. The following Vicodin addiction statistics as well as general opioid statistics show the effect of the addiction crisis:

  • More than 72,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2017
  • In 2016, there were 19,354 deaths that involved prescription opioid pain relievers like Vicodin
  • Every day it’s estimated that more than 115 people die in the US. from opioid overdoses, including prescription pain medications, heroin and synthetic opioids
  • The U.S. consumes around 80 percent of the world’s prescription opioids
  • Since 2009, hydrocodone has been the second-most encountered prescription opioid submitted in drug evidence at every level
  • There were more than 136.7 million prescriptions for hydrocodone-containing drugs written in 2013
  • In 2016 there were an estimated 93.7 million hydrocodone-containing prescriptions dispensed in the United States
  • The most frequently prescribed hydrocodone combination is the one in Vicodin — hydrocodone and acetaminophen

Vicodin is a widely prescribed but also frequently abused and addictive pain medication. If you or a loved one is struggling with Vicodin, contact 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.