Vicodin is a semi-synthetic opioid that contains hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Semi-synthetic opioids come from natural opioids, such as morphine and codeine. Acetaminophen is a drug that was created to relieve pain and reduce fevers. Vicodin is a pain reliever that physicians prescribe to relieve severe pain. It is often prescribed after patients have had surgery or were injured.
Hydrocodone is classified under schedule II of the Schedules for Controlled Substances. Therefore, this drug has been determined to present a high potential for abuse by users, and it also is very likely to lead to serious psychological or physical dependence.
When people misuse Vicodin, the biggest concern is that they will overdose on the drug. Therefore, the medical community advises patients to have naloxone available when they are taking opioid products.
What Is Naloxone?
Naloxone is a medication that can immediately reverse an opioid overdose. As an opioid agonist, naloxone binds to opioid receptors, and this blocks the ability of opioids to do so. This is a fast-acting medication that can cause the person to quickly begin breathing normally again. It will even work if the person has stopped breathing entirely in some cases. For the best results, people must take this medication when the symptoms of overdose first begin.
Symptoms of overdose on hydrocodone include the following:
- The inability to wake up
- Extreme sleepiness
- Blue, clammy or cold skin
- A slowing heartbeat or a heartbeat that has stopped
- Difficulties breathing
- Stopped, shallow or slow breathing
- Smaller or larger pupils
Hydrocodone works on the central nervous system to change the way that the user perceives pain, and acetaminophen works to relieve the pain.
Liver Damage With Consumption of Hydrocodone and Acetaminophen
The danger associated with acetaminophen is not related to addiction or dependence. The danger for those taking acetaminophen is the fact that it causes liver damage. The damage can be severe enough to require the person to need a liver transplant if the person takes too much. It can also cause death.
In addition to physical dependence, addiction, and overdose, there is also the possibility of liver failure.
What Is Liver Failure?
Liver failure is a condition that can be deadly, so it requires immediate medical attention. In most cases, liver failure occurs over several years after people use too much medication. As the person uses too much acetaminophen over the years, the liver becomes damaged and is unable to work as well as it did in the past.
The liver can succumb to this damage in a rapid manner in what is known as “acute liver failure.” This occurs when people take large doses of acetaminophen. With this condition, the liver begins to stop working in days or weeks.
The Effects of Vicodin
Vicodin comes as a tablet, syrup, or capsule that must make its way through the body until it reaches the brain. That’s when the medication’s effects can occur, but it usually takes about 15 minutes. It takes about 60 minutes for the person to experience the full effects of the medication, but this is too long for some people to wait.
People have discovered ways that Vicodin can begin to work more quickly. One way to do this is to crush the pills, form a solution, and smoke the solution or inject it into their veins.
How Do You Smoke Vicodin?
To smoke Vicodin, the user must crush the pills and apply heat to the powder so that the smoke can be inhaled. Inhaling Vicodin in this manner makes it possible for the drug to enter the bloodstream through the nose and reach the brain in a much faster manner than taking a pill.
The result of administering Vicodin in this way is that the drug’s effects do not last as long as they do when people take it in the manner that it was prescribed.
Smoking presents other dangers that taking a tablet does not present. Manufactures add fillers and binders to Vicodin as they are making it so that there is no danger when taken orally. When taken by way of inhalation, the body also inhales these fillers and binders, and it cannot absorb them. Instead, these fillers and binders cause damage to the body.
Other Ways to Increase the Effects of Vicodin
People do not limit themselves to taking Vicodin by simply inhaling it. They look for even more ways that they can enhance the experience they get from taking Vicodin, and one thing they choose to do is combine it with marijuana.
Vicodin’s Side Effects
Vicodin also causes several side effects. These include narrowed pupils, itching, rash, difficulties with urinating, dry throat, extreme sadness or extreme happiness, anxiety, unclear thoughts, dizziness, and constipation.
In addition to the side effects listed above, marijuana may cause serious side effects. These include tightness in the chest, low libido, menstrual irregularity, male sexual dysfunction, or breathing that is slow or irregular.
You may also experience diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, loss of coordination, muscle stiffness or twitching, shivering, rapid heartbeat, confusion, sweating, fever, hallucinations, agitation, weakness, and loss of appetite.
Obtaining Treatment for a Substance Use Disorder
Sometimes, people are reluctant to enter drug treatment. You may have heard that someone went to rehab and relapsed after leaving the treatment center. Maybe you had that experience, and you don’t think that treatment is going to work for you. Drug treatment is an ongoing process, and recovery is a state that you will be in your entire life.
Substance use disorders are like medical conditions. For example, if you have a diagnosis of diabetes, your doctor cannot “cure” you, but you can manage your disease. If one treatment isn’t working well for someone with diabetes, then the doctor tries another treatment. This is the same thing that you must do when you have a substance use disorder.
Treatment at Granite Recovery Centers
At Granite Recovery Centers, our physicians are trained to treat physical addiction and dependence on several substances. If you need to go through the detoxification process in our drug detox program, this is what you will do first. It is a medication-assisted program in which our physicians prescribe medicines that help you undergo the withdrawal process as comfortably as possible. Granite Recovery Centers provides medical detoxification for people who do not need immediate medical intervention, are not a danger to themselves, and are capable of self-evacuation in the event of an emergency.
The work of overcoming your psychological addiction begins after the toxins have been removed from your body. When this happens, you are no longer in danger of experiencing the symptoms of withdrawal. Our therapists will offer you clinical psychotherapy to help you overcome your addiction or dependence.
If you need an inpatient treatment program, we can offer you a 30-day, a 60-day or a 90-day drug rehab program. If you already had treatment in an inpatient treatment facility, we can place you in our aftercare program that will continue your treatment and help you step back into your life again. You will receive guidance that you need to make sure that you can continue on the road to sobriety.
If you want to give treatment a try, contact us at Granite Recovery Centers.