Increasing Incidence Of Lortab Abuse

The incidence of Lortab abuse has escalated quite dramatically in the US within the last ten years. Large scale diversion of Lortab and other hydrocodone proucts is going on, through health care professionals like doctors, dentists, nurses, as well as theft etc.

From approximately seven million units diverted in 1994, the number has grown to around 89 million units diverted in 2000 alone. Since the 1990s, average consumption of Lortab and other such hydrocodone drugs has increased by as much as 300%, throughout the nation. All possible age groups have succumbed to Lortab abuse, taking advantage of the comparative ease of availability. Another added problem is that medical professionals see Lortab and other hydrocodone drugs as relatively safe, and do not hesitate to prescribe them. As a result, white collar Lortab abuse has proliferated into all ethnic groups as well as across all economic strata.

Lortab is a combination drug, with a narcotic painkiller which is also a cough reliever called Hydrocodone bitartrate, and a non-narcotic painkiller called Acetaminophen. It is a very commonly prescribed drug given to ease moderate to moderately severe pain, mainly after some kind of surgery, for people with arthritis or suffering from sports relate injuries or, by dentists, after any sort of oral surgery. However, it is a very strong medication. When Lortab is taken orally, five mg. of it is the same as thirty mg. of milder drugs like codeine. This makes it dangerous if taken without prescription or without direction from a physician.

Lortab abuse can involve the use of Lortab in various ways. It can be swallowed orally, like normal medication, or chewed; it can be crushed into a powder and then inhaled, or snorted, like cocaine; it can also be crushed and dissolved in water to be injected. Even in normal, prescribed use, Lortab has side effects like drowsiness, dizziness or lightheadedness, anxiety, constipation, mental clouding, restlessness, sluggishness and so on. Users can easily become dependent on Lortab for the feeling of well-being that it typically produces, and people struggling with Lortab abuse often acquire a number of different prescriptions, for the same drug, from a number of different doctors to help them support their Lortab abuse.

Addictive, narcotic drugs, like Lortab, work on the neurons in the human brain. They create a tolerance and dependence, activating the brain’s reward systems. A reward is the high, or rush produced when the person takes the drug. This rush is very intense, and that makes the body and mind crave the drug. The person will then focus all of his/her energies and activities on getting the next dose of the drug.

It is this ability of Lortab to change, chemically, the functioning of the normal brain reward systems that leads to addiction. This also makes it a dangerous drug to abuse. Lortab abuse can, and does, reduce the user’s consciousness levels, ability to think, awareness. Lortab abuse affects and changes the way that the user normally experiences pain, changes those parts of the brain that control perceptions of pleasure. A large overdose of this drug may lead to severe respiratory depression and death. Other symptoms of overdose include muscular twitches, slow, labored and shallow breathing, pinpoint pupils, cold, sweaty, clammy skin with blue tinge to the skin or nails, vomiting, low blood pressure, drowsiness and coma.

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Information on this page last updated on 06/10/2007