Addiction to opioid medications is an epidemic in the United States. As prescribing practices to treat pain changed in 1999, more and more people received prescriptions for potent opioid drugs, like Vicodin, Percocet, and OxyContin. Many of these medications are intended for short-term use. They typically act on pain for 4-6 hours and then wear off.
People who are prone to substance abuse and addiction are more likely to develop an addiction to, and dependence on, these medications, and they often continue to abuse them after their prescription has ended. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that, between 2000 and 2015, a half-million people died from opioid overdose related to abuse and addiction. Currently, around 91 people die per day in the United States due to narcotics addiction. Although many prescription practices have changed to reduce the impact of this epidemic, people who become addicted to temporary prescriptions like Vicodin may switch to more potent drugs, like heroin or fentanyl.
Long-term abuse of Vicodin can lead to serious, and sometimes irreversible, physical harm. Compulsive abuse can also lead to overdose, which may cause death. Working with a medical professional to safely detox from Vicodin and then participating in a complete rehabilitation program is the best course of action to overcome a Vicodin addiction.