Two sides to Hydrocodone

There are two sides to Hydrocodone. On one hand, it is an extremely effective pain reliever, and on the other, it is a highly addictive drug. According to a recent article in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, Hydrocodone, together with Acetaminophen, provide up to six hours of pain relief for post-surgery pain. Those who received just Acetaminophen alone required additional medication within the same time period.

On the flip side, studies show that Hydrocodone was four times more addictive than NSAIDs and Tramadol, and even more addictive than various other drugs studied. Those who take this medication regularly, and for an extended period of time, may be at risk for withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, muscle pain, agitation, insomnia, diarrhea and anxiety, among others. To counter the rampant abuse of Hydrocodone, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has reclassified it as a schedule II controlled substance.


This reclassification changes how all products containing Hydrocodone are prescribed, dispensed and refilled. These restriction delineations include:

  • How the drug is stored for security purposes.
  • The handling of prescriptions and refills by physicians, nurses, physician’s assistants and pharmacists.
  • Pharmacies can no longer honor phone-in or faxed prescription refills.
  • Inventory performance via precise count and measure.

These sanctions are being put in place to curtail the widespread abuse of opioids, the potential for Heroin addiction and the epidemic of overdose deaths caused by the illicit use of this drug. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), prescription drug overdoses were responsible for over 22,000 deaths in 2012. 72% of those individuals died from opioid consumption.

Hydrocodone Addiction

Hydrocodone addiction affects people of all ages, from all backgrounds andfinancial status. The National Institute of Health reported that the number of adults age 50 and older who are abusing drugs has increased from 2.7 to 5.8 since 2002. Many of these individuals use generic forms of the drug, as well as brand names like Vicodin, Norco and Lortab.

Because Hydrocodone is so closely related to Heroin, many users transition to this highly addictive substance when price or availability hinders accessibility to the prescription drug. Elevated tolerance levels to often lead to addiction.

Warning Signs of Hydrocodone Abuse

  • You have been consistently increasing your dosage beyond the limits prescribed by your doctor.
  • You frequently run out of your medication before it is time for a refill.
  • You are visiting multiple doctors or seeking alternate sources to purchase the drug.
  • You spend a lot of time thinking about using Hydrocodone and how to get more of it.
  • You are experiencing significant behavioral changes such as mood swings.
  • You experience withdrawal symptoms when the drug is not in your system.


White Sands Treatment Center provides specialized treatment for prescription drug addiction. Our drug treatment protocols can be utilized on an outpatient or inpatient basis. During treatment, patients are informed about Hydrocodone abuse, how to recognize the signs and symptoms of it and given the relapse prevention tools they need to avoid a setback. Individual, group and family therapy are available to help addicts and their families learn how to cope with triggers and better understand the nature of addiction. Alternative and holistic therapies are also available, and when combined with traditional treatment modalities, they increase the chances of long term sobriety.

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.