Vicodin Addiction in Teens

Vicodin addiction is a serious and mounting problem in the United States. As the country faces an epidemic surrounding the over-prescribing of pain medications, opioids like Vicodin are becoming more and more available to teens.

What Is Vicodin?

Vicodin is a highly addictive prescription pain reliever. It is a combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Hydrocodone drugs like Vicodin are the most commonly prescribed opioid drugs in the country. More people use and abuse hydrocodone than any other legal or illegal drug. Vicodin is available as a pill that can be taken orally. However, some individuals crush the pills to snort the powder. Vicodin’s effects are similar to morphine and cause overall feelings of euphoria and sedation in addition to relieving physical pain. Vicodin can also cause serious side effects including dizziness, nausea, constipation and profoundly slowed breathing. When taken in high doses or in combination with other drugs or alcohol, Vicodin can be lethal.

How Common Is Vicodin Addiction in Teens?

Vicodin is the second most common prescription drug used by teens. In 2014, 4.8% of 12th-graders reported using Vicodin in the previous year. In individuals between the ages of 15 and 24, there were 3.7 deaths caused by opioid pain relievers like Vicodin for every 100,000 people. Most teens get prescription drugs for free from someone they know, like a relative who has a prescription or a friend. With the widespread use and availability of Vicodin in American households, teens are at a higher risk for Vicodin addiction.

Why Are Teens at Risk?

One of the most common misconceptions that teens have about prescriptions drugs is that they are safe because they come from a doctor. Teens see a parent using prescription drugs — either as directed or in excess — and they come to believe that drugs from a doctor are a safe alternative to drugs bought on the street. However, the fact is that prescription medications can be just as addictive, sometimes even more so, as illicit drugs purchased on the street. If you or someone you care about may be suffering from Vicodin addiction, seek help immediately. It is possible to beat Vicodin addiction and reclaim your health. Sources Drug Enforcement Agency. (n.d.). Drug Fact Sheet: Hydrocodone. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2015). Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medications. NIDA for Teens. (2017). Prescription Pain Medications (Opioids). NIDA for Teens. (2017). Prescription Drugs.

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