Vicodin is a brand name of a combination of the opioid pain reliever hydrocodone and the non-narcotic pain reliever acetaminophen. Among opioids, hydrocodone is not as potent as oxycodone or hydromorphone; however, it is nonetheless highly addictive and may cause death from overdose.
Legal Status of Vicodin
The United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has placed all medications containing hydrocodone on its list of controlled substances. The opioids hydrocodone, oxycodone, and hydromorphone are all listed as Schedule II controlled substances, which are defined as follows:
- The drug has a high potential for abuse
- The drug has currently accepted medical uses
- Abuse of the drug may lead to physical or psychological dependence
Possession of a Schedule II controlled substance must be by written prescription only from an authorized medical practitioner. Prescriptions may not be refilled.
Addiction to and Illegal Possession of Vicodin
Most doctors do not prescribe opioids in the long term except in extremely rare cases such as chronic pain from a terminal illness. Therefore, it is next to impossible to obtain enough Vicodin from a doctor to satisfy an addiction. Anyone who is truly addicted to Vicodin is almost surely obtaining the drug through illegal sources and is in possession of the drug illegally.
Vicodin Addiction Is a Disease, Not a Crime
Possession of Vicodin without a prescription is a crime. It is probable that anyone who is addicted to Vicodin is in illegal possession of the drug, at least on occasion.
However, being addicted to Vicodin is not a crime; it is a disease that requires professional treatment. Treatment professionals want to see you recover from your addiction, and are not law enforcement officials. If you seek treatment for Vicodin addiction you will not be turned in to the police. Enrolling in treatment and recovering from Vicodin addiction is the surest way to avoid any legal consequences that may result from illegal possession of Vicodin.
Treatment for Vicodin addiction can also save your life. Hydrocodone can cause death from overdose, especially if mixed with alcohol. Users can also develop a tolerance to hydrocodone, meaning that over time users will have to keep increasing the dose to achieve the same effect. Eventually even a very experienced user may simply take too much.
Long-term use of acetaminophen (the other active ingredient in Vicodin) can cause serious, possibly permanent and potentially fatal damage to the liver, especially in regular drinkers (even if they drink in moderation but on a regular basis).
Even if it doesn’t kill you, opioid addiction can cause tremendous damage in all areas of your life, from work and career to financial health and family relationships. Recovery from addiction can help you to repair the damage that has been done, avoid further consequences to your life and the lives of those around you, and will teach you how to face challenges in the future without resorting to drug use.
If you would like help finding treatment for Vicodin addiction, or if you have any questions about Vicodin, its legal status, side effects, addiction, treatment, or recovery, please call our toll-free helpline today. Counselors are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you may have and help you find the treatment you need.