Vicodin Abuse & Addiction in Ohio
In Ohio, the opioid epidemic has become such a significant problem that many physicians are reluctant to prescribe these medications even to patients who really need them for chronic pain. It’s an extremely difficult situation. Prescription opioids are desperately needed in some cases for pain, but they also have a high potential for abuse. One of the most commonly abused opioids is Vicodin.
Understanding Vicodin Abuse
Vicodin is a prescription medication that is considered to be an opioid. It includes the opioid hydrocodone as well as acetaminophen, which is a non-aspirin pain reliever. When a person takes hydrocodone, the drug changes how the person will perceive pain, and it will increase their pain tolerance.
The Drug Enforcement Agency of America considers Vicodin to be a controlled substance – a narcotic that is supposed to treat moderate to moderately severe pain. If hydrocodone is taken in a high dose, however, it can cause a euphoric high. This is why there is such a high potential for Vicodin abuse, and this is why the substance is so frequently used recreationally.
When someone is engaging in Vicodin abuse, they will frequently crush up the medication and snort it or inject it. This will create a high feeling faster and in a more intense way. Others who abuse the drug will simply take more than they are prescribed or take it more frequently than prescribed.
Vicodin is especially dangerous because it contains an opioid as well as acetaminophen. While acetaminophen is harmless if taken in the appropriate dose, if too much acetaminophen is taken within a 24-hour period, it can cause acute liver failure, liver damage and even death.
Understanding Vicodin Addiction
Some people who are prescribed Vicodin may be reluctant to take it because they are worried about whether or not it is addictive. These patients are right to be concerned. It is an extremely addictive medication. Unfortunately, even people who begin taking Vicodin for an injury or following a surgery can become addicted, even if they are following the doctor’s instructions.
Those who abuse the medication recreationally may steal it or buy it illegally since it is only available by a prescription. They may also try to doctor shop, pharmacy shop or create false symptoms to attempt to get a prescription. This is one of the reasons it is so difficult for physicians to distinguish the legitimate patients who need Vicodin from those who are simply drug seeking.
Why is Vicodin So Addictive?
Opioids are drugs that may be addictive to people from all classes and ethnicities. The person in the corporate, high-level job in Cincinnati is just as likely as the person working in a retail store in Cleveland for minimum wage to be addicted to Vicodin. This is because of the way the medication works on the brain.
Like other opiates, when Vicodin is taken, it triggers your brain to release feel-good chemicals like dopamine. This creates a sense of euphoria and a high feeling, which is what causes the medication to be so addictive.
How Long Does it Take to Become Addicted to Vicodin?
There is no one answer to this question because it really depends on the person. Some people become addicted to Vicodin after taking it for a week or two. Some people take Vicodin for a month and never become addicted. Those who have a personal or family history of substance abuse or addiction are more likely to develop a Vicodin addiction.
Another thing to keep in mind is that Vicodin causes physical dependence even if psychological addiction is not present. This means that if Vicodin is stopped, withdrawal symptoms will be experienced. This is why it’s so important to go through medically-supervised detox if you are trying to stop taking Vicodin.
Facilities like The Recovery Village Columbus are here for you to find the healing that you need to begin a path to recovery and conquer your Vicodin addiction. If you are interested in changing your life, please give us a call today.
- Medlineplus.gov. “Hydrocodone Combination Products.” National Institutes of Health, January 15, 2021. Accessed May 3, 2021.
- “Acetaminophen safety: Be cautious but not afraid.” Harvard Health Publishing, December 2013. Accessed May 3, 2021.
- United States Drug Enforcement Administration. “Drug Scheduling.” 2021. Accessed May 3, 2021.
- Kosten TR, George TP. “The neurobiology of opioid dependence: implications for treatment.” Sci Pract Perspect. 2002. Accessed May 3, 2021.
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village Columbus 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.