Vicodin is an opiate narcotic used to treat pain that may stem from a chronic pain condition, injury or post-surgery. Vicodin is highly habit-forming, and dependence and addiction can develop after just a short time on the drug. Vicodin is a combination of acetaminophen and hydrocodone, and works in the brain to change the way the body perceives pain. It also produces feelings of euphoria usually experienced by the natural release of dopamine in the brain. According to USA Today, death from Vicodin overdose has nearly tripled in the last decade in the US, and addiction to Vicodin and other hydrocodone products continues to be a growing problem. Vicodin is available by prescription in other countries and cultures, but laws and efforts to control the dispensing of the drug are unique in each place.
Vicodin Use in the United Kingdom
In Britain, Vicodin is used sparingly by physicians. Doctors who prescribe narcotic painkillers must have a special license from the United Kingdom’s governing body for doctors, and all powerful painkiller prescriptions must be written on a special pink pad. The risk of doctor shopping for more pain medicine is also greatly reduced because of the socialized medicine system. Even prescriptions from private doctors are cross-referenced in the government system so that each patient’s primary-care doctor knows what medicines they have been prescribed. The pressure to please the patient is also less than it is in the US because the patient does not pay the doctor directly, so there is no financial risk to the doctor if he or she chooses not to write the prescription. Other over-the-counter pain medicines are also highly monitored with only limited amounts available without a prescription. Although reports of painkiller usage are on the rise in the UK, this strict system still prevents more drug overdose deaths than causes them.
Vicodin Use in Other Countries
Although Vicodin is not available in many South American countries, other hydrocodone products are available by prescription. The abuse of these drugs varies by country, but the rate of addiction and death by overdose is far less than it is in the US. In Canada, the abuse of Vicodin and other narcotic drugs continues to be a serious public health issue. Recently, the government of Ontario enacted a new law requiring its citizens to provide picture identification to doctors, pharmacists and in some cases, dentists, before they can be given a prescription for narcotics.
Find Help for Vicodin Addiction
Prescription drug abuse, addiction and overdose are all growing problems in the United States and beyond. If you or a loved one struggles with Vicodin addiction, we are here to help. Call our toll-free number any time to speak to a trained helpline counselor. We are available 24 hours a day, and are ready to answer your questions about addiction and treatment options available to you.