Vicodin, a prescription pain medication, is the trade name for the combination of hydrocodone and paracetamol. Paracetamol, also known as acetaminophen, is a medication used in many over-the-counter pain medications, and hydrocodone is an opioid painkiller. Vicodin is usually prescribed for moderate to severe acute or chronic pain. Like all other opioid painkillers, it plays a vital role in pain management, and when used correctly with medical supervision, it’s safe. Unfortunately, like all other opioid painkillers, Vicodin is often abused which can lead to a Vicodin addiction.
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Commonly prescribed in tablet form, Vicodin also comes in a variety of liquid formulas. Like other painkillers, Vicodin is commonly abused by simply taking it when it’s not needed, or by taking someone else’s prescription as recreation.
In more extreme cases, Vicodin can be abused by crushing the pills and inhaling them, or mixing them with water and injecting them directly into the user’s bloodstream. Both methods carry a serious risk of overdose. Pills are designed to slowly release their active ingredients over a period of time. Abusers get the entire dose at once, potentially overwhelming their system.
Opiate drugs like Vicodin are abused for several reasons:
- Vicodin’s sedating effects help users escape their problems – while creating new, potentially lethal ones
- Some users experience sensations of euphoria when abusing prescription opiates
- Long-term users continue to abuse Vicodin to stave off withdrawal symptoms
Because of Vicodin’s high potential for abuse, it was rescheduled as a schedule II drug in 2014.