Although Vicodin, also known as hydrocodone, is a medication prescribed by doctors to control pain, it can be potentially dangerous if not taken as prescribed or in larger doses than prescribed. Vicodin is an opioid narcotic medication which is related to other opiates like Codeine and OxyContin. The dangers of Vicodin become more serious when people use them when they are not prescribed, though they can be risky when used correctly as well. One of the biggest reasons it is so dangerous is because people don’t realize what the chances of addiction are with Vicodin. People mistakenly believe that because a doctor prescribes the medication that it isn’t as dangerous as street drugs and that it is safer to take them. This decision can have dire consequences.
Is Vicodin the Same as OxyContin?
Vicodin is not as strong as drugs like OxyContin making it only a Schedule II narcotic. Schedule II narcotics can be refilled many times where as OxyContin, a Schedule I narcotic cannot be refilled. This can be dangerous because the drug is more accessible. If it is easier for you to get your hands on and easier for you to replenish your supply you might not think anything of popping an extra pill or taking one sooner than you should because it makes you feel good.
Dangerous Health Effects
Vicodin is a mixture of hyrodrocone and acetaminophen. Acetaminophen on it’s own has been known to cause liver failure if taken in excess. Coupled with hydrocodone, it is believed to be even more damaging to the liver and can even lead to liver failure and death.
Often drugs like Vicodin are broken down and snorted or injected. This greatly increases chances of depressed or slowed respiration which can lead to coma and even death, and accidental overdose is increasing, according to NIDA, “CDC Reports marked increases in unintentional poisoning deaths since late the 1990s, due mainly to opioid pain reliever overdose”
Vicodin and Alcohol
Because Vicodin is not as strong as other prescribed medication, people often consume alcohol with the drug which increases it’s effects. Drinking while consuming any medication is highly warned against. A warning label is placed on prescription bottles and a manufacturers warning about mixing the medication with alcohol must be included in the packaging given by the pharmacist. Mixing Vicodin with alcohol can make the user drowsier than when Vicodin is taken alone, which is one of the less serious side effects of the prescribed medication. Using alcohol with Vicodin can be a very dangerous combination because it causes slowing of motor skills, slurring of speech, nausea and vomiting and mood changes and feelings of anger and anxiety are increased. It can also inhibit proper decision making skills.
Driving While Under the Influence
There are dangers of Vicodin associated with driving and operating heavy machinery, too. Driving while under the influence of drugs like Vicodin and or alcohol is absolutely a deadly decision, not only for the influenced driver but also for other innocent drivers on the road. Last year over 10,000 people died across the nation due to driving under the influence. Over 30% of all traffic fatalities involved driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol or the combination of both.