Pill popping Vikes, Vics, Vicos, Hydros, Lorris, Fluff, Scratch, Norco, Idiot Pills, Tabs, Watsons or 357s – all refer to Vicodin prescription abuse. Vicodin is supposed to be a medication for pain: A combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen.
It can be effective for managing chronic, acute or even moderate pain, but more and more adults, – and teens – are using the drug to numb both physical and emotional pain. Many don’t even realize that by pill popping the drug to “relax,” they are among the tens of thousands nationwide caught up in the opioid addiction and overdose epidemic.
Vicodin tablets can be swallowed, crushed and snorted, mixed in with a drink and even injected by someone who is abusing them. It also comes in liquid form. Vicodin is a popular for recreational abuse and black-market retail: Teens often steal, trade or sell off a prescription for profit.
Signs of Vicodin Addiction
It is vital to learn to identify the symptoms of Vicodin addiction in order to catch the problem before major damage is done. Signs of Vicodin addiction can include:
- Blurred vision
- Constricted pupils
- Intense mood swings
- Nausea, vomiting
- Problems with attention and focus
- Ringing in the ears
- Slow heartbeat
The Drug Enforcement Administration has classified Vicodin as a Schedule II drug because of its high potential for abuse.
Red Flags of Vicodin Abuse
- Combing parents, relatives or friend’s medicine cabinets
- Hiding pills
- Explaining away pill-popping habits
- Frequent complaints of various pains to get parents to take them to doctor’s office for a prescription
- Taking Vicodin at random times of the day
Withdrawal effects of Vicodin abuse can also be evident:
- Bone and muscle pain
- Chills and fever
- Nausea and vomiting
Vicodin Inside the Body
The two main ingredients have complimentary functions but are both painkillers: Acetaminophen treats pain and fever and hydrocodone is in the opioid family and Hydrocodone binds to opioid receptor locations on nerve cells; thus numbing the body’s pain perception. The opioid interference also causes a flash flood of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which activates the brain’s reward system with euphoric sensations.
Acetaminophen, known more commonly as the main ingredient in Tylenol and other over the counter pain relievers, comes at a much higher concentration in Vicodin. High doses of acetaminophen are dangerous to the liver.
The effects of Vicodin abuse are pretty obvious. The euphoria it produces makes it highly coveted to users and many who legitimately take it for pain often find themselves inadvertently addicted. Like a knee-jerk reaction, the body comes to expect the high and fear moments without the sedation. But the health damages of overuse surpass the medical benefits.
Tolerance to the opioid-infused drug will often callous the individual and demand more Vicodin to get its effects. An abundance of Vicodin in the system can dangerously slow breathing – and can be fatally exacerbated by alcohol in the bloodstream.