Vicodin is a pain relief drug that is prescribed for medium to severe pain. It contains hydrocodone and paracetamol, the former contains a semi-synthetic opioid – this is wherein the danger lies.
As with any opioid a user can quickly become addicted – it is not simply a case of users wanting to feel the drugs effects over and over again (although that certainly comes in to it), the body can suffer harsh withdrawal symptoms if taken off the drug abruptly.
Shockingly the drug was actually the second prevalent amongst 12th graders in the US (2010-2011), with marijuana holding the lead by a substantial amount. Vicodin contains opioids, just as heroin does, yet people aren’t being educated to the risks of it and more and more people are trying it everyday. The state needs to air the reality of these drugs, rather than just trying to improve prescription procedures.
Oxycodone (branded as Oxycontin), like vicodin contains opioids combined with a non-narcotic pain relief substance (paracetamol or some such). The opioids are semi-synthetic and result in slow-release pain relief. It was originally created in Germany in 1916 as an alternative to Morphine and other such drugs, which gave fast, intense pain relief which did not last. It may have achieved slow-release pain relief, it did not however avoid the addictive properties that any opioid has.
It did not gain serious popularity till Oxycontin was produced; Oxycontin still combined the semi-synthetic opioids with other pain relieving substances, but with far more Oxycodone. It became a drug that could provide 12 hour pain-relief, with euphoria at higher doses – is it any wonder people began to use it recreationally?
Prescription drugs are often viewed as safe, dependable medication that won’t harm you – this is certainly not the case. Prescription drug related hospital admittance exceeds that of all cases of street-drug admittances. Prescribed drugs are safe, but if misused the consequences can be devastating.
There are three main categories of prescription drug that are abused; these are opioids (pain relievers), central nervous system depressants (sedatives/tranquilizers) and amphetamines (stimulants). The most abused by far are opioids, most commonly in the form of Vicodin and Oxycodone. central nervous system (CNS) depressants feature second with amphetamines in a close third.
In recent years drug prescription abuse has risen with a staggering 7 million Americans admitting to past-month abuse in 2010. They are fast becoming a gateway to street-drugs as users struggle to get enough drugs prescribed, instead turning to more accessible street-drug alternatives.
The following are the 4 most abused prescription drugs from each category, with two from opioids as their level of use are extreme in comparison.
Arguably the most abused CNS depressant is Diazepam (commonly known as valium). It is prescribed for a number of symptoms, most noticeably anxiety and panic attacks. People who suffer from such symptoms find themselves using the drug as a crutch, allowing them to remain relaxed and devoid of anxiety. The drug is not however meant to be used permanently, sustained use can lead to reduced motor function. The drug can cause an overdose; users will become confused, lose motor function and may even fall into a coma – immediate medical attention in the form of the antidote Flumazenil is required, if not the user may die
There is no one prescription drug that users abuse the most, however prescription amphetamines as a whole are certainly abused. They are used medicinally to treat ADHD and narcolepsy, giving an effect of alertness and focus. However when abused the prescribed drugs can mimic the effects of cocaine; they often act as a gateway, having finished their prescribed medication and not allowed more the user may turn to cocaine to fuel their addiction.
This post was contributed by Stanely Martinson. With a variety of interests regarding health issues, Stanely is especially interested in rehabilitation. For more information, click here.