Drug abuse and trafficking has been a large problem for a very long time. This problem has become worse with the addition of more drugs that can be abused over the years. One of these relatively newer drugs is hydrocodone.
Hydrocodone comes in many different forms. It is often found as a mixture with acetaminophen. There are several hundred different brand name and generic products, but the most common are Vicodin, Lortab, and Lorcet. There are also names a few names for hydrocodone when it is being used illegally. These names include Vikes, Hydro, and Norco. These are all hydrocodone containing medications, and each comes in several different strengths.
Hydrocodone is generally used as an analgesic to treat moderate to moderately severe pain. It is one of the most commonly prescribed opiates in the United States. Probably partly due to this, abuse of hydrocodone has been escalating in recent years. In 2006 it was the most frequently abused opioid pharmaceutical submitted as drug evidence.
Hydrocodone is a Schedule II drug, but hydrocodone containing products were originally placed in schedule III and V. When it first came onto the market, it was used primarily as a cough suppressant. However, it is being used for pain management today and is the most frequently prescribed opioid pharmaceutical in the United States.
Hydrocodone is generally abused for its effects as an opiate. It is usually abused in pill form as this is the most frequently prescribed form. It is also combined with alcohol very often in order to increase the effects.
Hydrocodone is an opiate just like any other. Because of this, abuse can lead to tolerance, dependence and addiction. However, because it is usually mixed with acetaminophen in its pill form, there is also risk of liver toxicity. This has led to a substantial number of deaths.
Unlike many other drugs, hydrocodone is not clandestinely produced. Most abuse of the drug is accomplished by illegitimate prescriptions or the selling of legitimate prescriptions. However, the penalties for trafficking in hydrocodone are stiff.
For being caught with any amount of a hydrocodone containing product without legitimate reason, you can be imprisoned for up to five years and fined up to $250,000. For a repeat offense, you can be imprisoned for up to ten years and fined up to $500,000. These penalties are even higher if you have any amount of pure hydrocodone.
If you would like to know more about the legal ramifications of abusing hydrocodone, click here.