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A bottle of hydrocodone pillsAddiction to prescription opioids is an incredibly relevant topic, at the moment, as an astounding number of people continue to get addicted to these medical painkillers. The sad irony of this fact is that the rise of this addiction epidemic isn’t caused by some underground black market, but has been driven by our own medical system. As a number of drug overdoses quadrupled from 1999 to 2010, so too did a number of prescription opioids sold. Hydrocodone is just one of the substances that drove this trend, despite having a real medical application.

Aside from the inherent dangers of abusing hydrocodone, and substances like it, another major danger that these drugs present is that they provide a clear pipeline that has increased the rate of heroin addiction, as well. The problem is that individuals who become dependent on drugs like Lortab and Vicodin will turn to stronger substances that can be acquired for cheaper, once their prescriptions run out.

Here’s a list of popular brand names of hydrocodone:

  • Norco
  • Lortab
  • Vicodin

Dangers of hydrocodone abuse

Short term effects: Hydrocodone operates in a similar way to other types of prescription opioid painkillers. The reason that hydrocodone works so well as a painkiller is that it is able to alter the way that a user feels pain by majorly affecting the pain receivers in your body’s nervous system. Essentially, it tells your body that you aren’t actually hurting, and your brain follows suit. However, by eliminating the pain that your body is able to feel, it gives users a specific high that is like a numbness. This is how it becomes physically addicting, as pain becomes more severe. As hydrocodone wears off, particular for users who are addicted to it, there are severe side effects of nausea, respiratory problems, allergic reactions, and digestive problems (like vomiting or diarrhea).

Long term effects: Hydrocodone, along with all other types of prescription opioids, can drastically cause problems for liver, along with other organs, after continuous usage. On top of that, hydrocodone dependence can make it difficult for your body to produce feelings of pleasure unless you are currently under the influence of the drug, which makes it even more addictive. Depending on how much a person uses hydrocodone, addiction to this substance can even be fatal.

Mixing hydrocodone with other substances

Sadly, although there are plenty of warnings to contrary, many individuals continue to mix medications with alcohol, thinking that it is no big deal. This happens all too often with hydrocodone, along with other prescription opioids. Mixing hydrocodone and alcohol increases the adverse effects of both, and can cause extreme nausea, drowsiness, and brain impairment.