Hydrocodone Addiction and Abuse

Known by brand names Vicodin, Norco and Lortab, hydrocodone is a powerful painkiller with a high potential for abuse and addiction.

Start the road to recovery

(877) 746-0480

    Call Now

    Treatment Center Locator

    Understanding Hydrocodone

    hydrocodone pillHydrocodone is the powerful main ingredient in narcotic painkillers for moderate to severe pain. It is often administered orally to treat short-term dental and injury-related pain.

    People who use hydrocodone over a long period of time or in larger doses may start showing symptoms of hydrocodone addiction.

    Hydrocodone is considered an “opioid,” or a semi-synthetic opiate. It’s similar to drugs like morphine, codeine and oxycodone.

    Hydrocodone relieves pain by binding pain receptors (opioid receptors) in the central nervous system. This weakens the signal for pain in the brain and can produce feelings of elation.

    Questions about treatment?

    Get confidential help 24/7. Call now for:

    • Access to top treatment centers
    • Caring, supportive guidance
    • Financial assistance options
    (855) 826-4464

    How Hydrocodone Is Used

    Hydrocodone is combined with acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol) or ibuprofen in brand names such as Vicodin, Norco and Lortab. The Food and Drug Administration has also approved a pure hydrocodone product known as Zohydro.

    Those abusing hydrocodone may crush up their pills and snort or inject the contents. In 2014, lawmakers recognized the increasing dangers of abuse and addiction of hydrocodone combination products such as Vicodin and changed them from a Schedule III to Schedule II controlled substance.

    See how Jerry
    overcame his
    addiction.
    Jerry Lawson sitting in a chair

    Hydrocodone Brand Names

    There are several versions of hydrocodone marketed in the United States. Those with an addiction to hydrocodone likely have a specific brand they prefer. This could be based on many reasons that are both practical and psychological.

    • Vicodin (5mg, 7.5mg, 10mg/300mg)

      Vicodin pillEach Vicodin tablet has 300 mg of acetaminophen and comes in three different dosage levels of hydrocodone—5 mg, 7.5 mg and 10 mg. It is generally prescribed for one tablet taken every 4 to 6 hours, though addicts may take much higher doses.

      Vicodin once had a high amount of acetaminophen in its pills, but an FDA change in 2011 required all prescription painkillers to reduce their acetaminophen content. High doses of acetaminophen have been known to cause liver damage. Previous formulations included 500 to 750 mg of acetaminophen.

      Up to 131 million Americans were, oftentimes unnecessarily, prescribed Vicodin in 2011.

    • Norco (7mg, 10mg/325mg)

      Norco pillNorco is most often prescribed in two strengths: either 7.5 mg or 10 mg of hydrocodone combined with 325 mg of acetaminophen.

      Prior to the FDA requiring lower levels of acetaminophen in hydrocodone medications, Norco had the least amount of acetaminophen in it. Some addicts chose Norco in an effort to avoid the increased risks of consuming too much acetaminophen. Currently, it has the highest amount of acetaminophen allowed.

      In 2012, almost 2 million people tried opioids like Norco recreationally for the first time.

    • Lortab (5mg, 7.5mg, 10mg/325mg)

      Lortab pillLortab is a prescription drug that combines hydrocodone with acetaminophen. The addition of acetaminophen increases the pain-relieving effects of the drug.

      Even those with a legitimate prescription may be abusing Lortab by taking more than recommended. Taking more than the prescribed dose of Lortab increases the risk of dependency.

      The highest percentage of non-medical Lortab use are 18- to 25-year-olds.

    • Zohydro (10mg, 15mg, 20mg, 30mg, 40mg, 50mg)

      zohydroThe first purely hydrocodone product approved by the FDA, Zohydro is only prescribed for severe pain. Because hydrocodone can be addictive, use of Zohydro is carefully monitored and regulated.

      When Zohydro was approved, there was some backlash over its abuse potential. Because it has no acetaminophen, addicted people could turn to this powerful painkiller to reduce the risk of liver damage.

      New users, whether medical or recreational, can easily become addicted to this pure substance.

    Background image

    Ready to make a change?

    Our phone number is available 24/7 to help you or your loved one find a treatment center that suits your needs. It only takes one call to start your new life in recovery.
    Don’t waste another second. Call now to speak with a compassionate treatment expert.

    Speak with an expert (855) 826-4464

    - OR -

    Let us call you
    (877) 746-0480

      Hydrocodone Effects and Abuse

      Hydrocodone abuse can be difficult to recognize. Someone who has a legitimate hydrocodone prescription, but uses it outside of a doctor’s recommendation, is abusing it.

      Abuse can be taking more pills than prescribed, continuing to take them beyond their prescribed timeframe or taking them in a way other than how they were intended (such as snorting or injecting them). Many people abuse hydrocodone products for the “high” that comes from them.

      Some of the immediate effects of hydrocodone abuse include:

      • Relaxation
      • Decreased anxiety
      • Euphoria
      • Calmness
      • Happiness

      High doses of hydrocodone can create these effects more quickly. However, they can also lead to overdose.

      Overdosing on hydrocodone can cause drowsiness, confusion and nausea. The most dangerous side effect of hydrocodone is depressed or stopped breathing.

      Get started on the road to recovery.

      Addiction to Hydrocodone

      Hydrocodone interferes with the brain’s pain receptors and the brain’s limbic system, collectively known as the brain reward system. Frequent hydrocodone abuse not only reprograms the brain for addiction but also causes a physical dependence on the substance.

      Once someone is physically dependent on hydrocodone, they need it to prevent withdrawal symptoms such as muscle aches and nausea.

      As their tolerance builds, people addicted to hydrocodone need higher doses to keep withdrawal symptoms at bay.

      Addiction is diagnosed on a spectrum from mild to severe. Some signs of hydrocodone addiction include taking more than intending to and prioritizing drug use over personal or professional responsibilities. Addictions to hydrocodone, Vicodin, Norco and Lortab can spiral out of control quickly.

      Get help for a hydrocodone addiction now.

      Hydrocodone and Other Drugs

      Abusing hydrocodone alongside other drugs can increase the likelihood of negative effects or overdose. Mixing hydrocodone with alcohol can be especially dangerous, as both substances are central nervous system depressants. In some cases, combined hydrocodone and alcohol abuse can lead to respiratory failure.

      Hydrocodone’s painkilling properties make it similar to heroin, which is often cheaper and more accessible. All too often, people who have developed a dependence on hydrocodone while prescribed to it turn to heroin as a substitute afterward.

      Hydrocodone Abuse Statistics

      Prescription opioids such as hydrocodone are the fourth most common addiction in the U.S., accounting for approximately 1.8 million addicts.

      20%

      abused prescriptions

      About 20% of those abusing opioids like hydrocodone received the drug with a prescription.

      2

      million first-timers

      In 2012, almost 2 million people tried opioids recreationally for the first time.

      46%

      medical emergencies

      Prescription opioids are the most common substance involved in drug-related medical emergencies. In 2013, 46% of drug-related medical emergencies involved opioids.

      Treating a Hydrocodone Addiction

      Hydrocodone powerfully addictive. Medical detox and a professional treatment program make it easier to break this addiction. If you or someone you care about is struggling to get out from under the pull of these drugs, let us help you break free.

      Get help today

      Don't go through the process of recovery alone. Get in touch with someone who can help.

      (877) 746-0480

        What does it mean that this site is brought to you by Beach House Center for Recovery?

        We strive to be fully transparent in all of our relationships. To that end, we want you to be aware that AddictionCenter is compensated by Beach House Center for Recovery for the work AddictionCenter does in the development and operation of this site. Beach House Center for Recovery was carefully vetted and selected to be a trusted provider and partner with AddictionCenter, based on the quality of treatment that Beach House provides and their rigorous commitment to ethical practices. Learn more about why Beach House Center for Recovery is a trusted provider with AddictionCenter.

        All calls to numbers on individual facility listings will always go to the facility listed. All calls to general contact numbers and contact us forms on this site are routed to Beach House Center for Recovery. If Beach House Center for Recovery is unable to assist with a particular need they are committed to providing direction and assistance in finding appropriate care.

        Get 24/7 help now. All calls free and confidential.

        (855) 826-4464

        Take control of your life

        Our treatment specialists offer 24/7 assistance.

        • Access to top treatment centers
        • Caring, supportive guidance
        • Financial assistance options

        Call now:

        (855) 826-4464

        OR

        Have us call you:

        (877) 746-0480

          Where do calls go?

          Calls to numbers dedicated to a specific treatment center profile will be routed to that treatment center. All other calls will be routed to Beach House Center for Recovery.

          Rehab experts are available 24/7/365 to answer and return calls routed to Beach House.

          All calls are private and confidential.

          How do we choose our partners?

          About Beach House

          Beach House Center for Recovery is a leading drug and alcohol treatment center that combines the latest medical, clinical, and spiritual treatments to combat addiction.

          Find out more about AddictionCenter.

          A treatment facility paid to have their center promoted here. Learn more about how to be featured in a paid listing.