About Vicodin Addiction
Addiction to Vicodin and other opioid pain relievers has become a major public health problem in recent years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “Three-quarters of prescription drug overdose deaths in 2011 (16,917) involved a prescription opioid pain reliever (OPR), which is a drug derived from the opium poppy or synthetic versions of it such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, or methadone.”
Hydrocodone is produced clandestinely and it’s widely available via the internet. However, those struggling with Vicodin addiction seek to obtain it from legitimate sources by a practice known as “doctor shopping.” This is a process by which patients will visit multiple doctors seeking prescriptions for the same medication. Brea Perry, Associate Professor of Sociology at Indiana University is leading a study of the problem. According to Perry “We know that people legitimately hurt themselves, they will break their own bones to obtain access to controlled substances.”
While the practice of doctor shopping has become widespread, physicians have also contributed to the problem by overprescribing pain relievers such as Vicodin. In March of 2016, the CDC issued a new guideline to doctors to control the problem. “More than 40 Americans die each day from prescription opioid overdoses, we must act now,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “Overprescribing opioids—largely for chronic pain—is a key driver of America’s drug-overdose epidemic. The guideline will give physicians and patients the information they need to make more informed decisions about treatment.”
Of particular concern is that the effects of Vicodin abuse and the misuse of other opioids may be fueling an epidemic of heroin addiction. Addicts will often turn to heroin as a less expensive alternative to Vicodin and other prescription opioids.
Opioids like Vicodin are extremely dangerous when abused and there has been a surge in overdose fatalities in recent years. According to the CDC, more people died from drug overdoses in 2014 than in any year on record. The majority of those involved an opioid. Deaths from prescription opioids—drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone—have quadrupled since 1999. Symptoms of Vicodin addiction overdose may include:
- Slow/shallow breathing
- Loss of appetite
- Stomach/abdominal pain
- Extreme tiredness
- Slow heartbeat
- Yellowing eyes/skin
- Dark urine
- Loss of consciousness
Considering the critical dangers associated with the effects of Vicodin abuse, the need for effective Vicodin addiction treatment is greater than ever.