Since 1999, almost 400,000 people have died from an opioid overdose. Hydrocodone is a synthetic opioid prescribed by doctors for moderate to severe pain.
Hydrocodone addiction in the United States is common, and the opioid epidemic has reached crisis proportions.
Do you know someone who abuses hydrocodone? Read on for 5 important facts and stats about hydrocodone addiction in America.
What Is an Opioid?
The human body has natural opioid receptors on the nerve cells of the body as well as the brain. Synthetic opioid drugs interact with these receptors.
The interaction of synthetic opioids in the brain is what makes the drugs effective for pain relief. The drugs induce a euphoria that reduces pain. It’s the euphoric effect that causes the misuse or abuse of the drug.
Hydrocodone is safe for many people when used as directed by the doctor. But those with a history of drug or alcohol abuse should not use the drug at all.
The Most Commonly Misused Drug
Of all pain reliever misuse, hydrocodone products are the most misused opioid pain relievers. Hydrocodone is the generic name for several drugs, including:
The most recent statistics reveal that a little over 6 million people (12 or older) misused hydrocodone products. That amounts to 2.3% of the population.
Risk of Addiction
The risk of addiction is different for everyone. But some people have more risk factors making them prone to addiction. Hydrocodone addiction treatment is crucial for someone abusing the drug.
About 40-60% of a person’s risk addiction comes from genetic factors. But environmental factors play a big role too.
Kids who lack parental supervision are more likely to engage in risky behavior. And risky behavior sometimes leads to addiction down the road.
Even schools play a part. If kids attend a school with good anti-drug policies where drugs aren’t readily available, they’re less likely to try drugs.
The Most At-Risk Population
Since the 1990s, opioid overdose numbers rose for every population group. Men between the ages of 18-34 died at a rate of 3:1 as compared to women in the same age group.
Opioid deaths disproportionately affect population groups between the ages of 25-54. Most of those people began using drugs in their early 20s.
Antidote to Death
It’s possible to reverse an opioid overdose with the drug naloxone. But the drug must be given soon after the suspected overdose.
Hydrocodone Addiction and Treatment
A person addicted to hydrocodone needs professional addiction treatment. Physical symptoms called “withdrawal” occurs when an addicted person stops using the drug.
Withdrawal symptoms can lead to life-threatening situations. Some symptoms of withdrawal are: