Vicodin Addiction Effects
One of the most widely prescribed pain relievers in America, Vicodin is an opioid composed of the narcotic hydrocodone and acetaminophen (a non-narcotic). Vicodin is used to treat moderate to severe pain, and although physical dependence can form, many short-term users appreciates the analgesic benefits without many risks.
As the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) estimates, 24.6 million Americans aged 12 and older (9.4 percent of that population) used illicit drug(s) in the month prior to the survey. The survey includes abuse of prescription pain relievers for non-medical purposes. The 2013 NSDUH found that 2.5 percent of the population aged 12 and older had abused a prescription painkiller in the prior month. These findings were similar to those from 2010-2012 when the percentage of abusers ranged from 2.4 to 2.7 percent.
Although the number of prescription painkiller abusers remains steady, the survey noted that each day 7,800 Americans aged 12 and older try an illicit drug for the first time. In this group, approximately one in five (20.6 percent) initiate with abuse of a prescription drug, including 12.5 percent getting their start with a painkiller. A further indication of the severity of prescription painkiller abuse relates to the number of people who seek treatment. As the 2013 NSDUH reports, whereas 360,000 Americans sought treatment for prescription pain reliever abuse in 2002, the number climbed to 746,000 in 2013.
Where Vicodin is abused, users either have a lawful prescription as part of a medically supervised pain management plan, or they acquire these opioids from unregulated sources. The 2013 NSDUH provides valuable information on the sources of opioids. According to the 2013 NSDUH, among prescription pain relief abusers aged 12 years of age and older, in 2012-2013:
- About 53 percent got their most recent dose from a friend or family member for free.
- Approximately 10.6 paid a friend or family member for the opioid.
- About 21.2 percent received a prescription from one doctor.
- On average, 4.3 percent annually bought prescription painkillers from a drug dealer or other stranger.
- About 0.1 percent bought these drugs on the Internet.
The finding that many opioid abusers receive these drugs from non-medical sources raises numerous concerns, such as whether Americans have adequate knowledge about the health risks associated with opioid abuse, or if they are aware of the dangers but disregard them in favor of the pleasurable effects of these drugs. If Americans share their prescription painkillers with family and friends then entire groups are at risk of abuse. Family members and friends are often the motivating force behind a drug addict seeking treatment, but if family members and friends are also abusing prescription painkillers, then there may be a greater risk that those in need do not have the necessary support to enter rehab services.
Signs of Addiction
Vicodin can be consumed in pill form, crushed and snorted, or added to water and administered intravenously. However an abuser takes Vicodin, side effects are likely to ensue after the first few uses and with continued use. Signs of Vicodin addiction include:
- Poor attention span
- Irritability, snappiness and anxiety
- Flu-like symptoms
More severe side effects can also manifest and may be a sign of Vicodin overdose, which will require medical attention. It is always important for a substance abuser and/or a loved one to set aside any concerns about illegal drug abuse and seek medical attention as necessary. While not all overdoses are fatal, the risk of fatality is still present. The overdose symptoms associated with Vicodin are numerous, but the following examples provide a sense of the severity of an overdose:
- Urine with blood or cloudiness
- Chest pain, sweating or clamminess
- Extreme drowsiness or sleepiness
- Dizziness, fainting or lightheadedness
- Unconsciousness or cardiac arrest
As NPR discusses, in 2010, there were 38,329 overdose deaths in America. Alarmingly, pharmaceuticals (in addition to painkillers, this group also includes stimulants and tranquilizers) were involved in more than 50 percent of those fatalities. Hydrocodone – the generic name for the opiate ingredient in Vicodin — was the most commonly prescribed drug among the pharmaceutical overdose cases and was involved in 16,651 (44 percent) of the fatalities. Of all the overdose deaths attributed to prescription drugs, 75 were accidental or unintentional, 17 percent were attributed to suicide, and eight percent could not be determined. As this narcotic overdose research project found, prescription opioids presented the greatest threat of death compared to all other pharmaceuticals (6,500 deaths involved sedative benzodiazepines and 4,000 included antidepressants).
Here at Rehab International, we are devoted to getting you or your loved one the information you need to find a drug rehab center best equipped to treat your Vicodin addiction.
Our expert staff understands the gravity of opioid addiction, and we are here to help get you or your loved one on the road toward lasting recovery.
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