In this day and age, you can find just about anything you want online, including hydrocodone. Hydrocodone is one of the most commonly prescribed opioids in the U.S. and there are many reasons why a person might want to buy it online instead of getting it through a doctor.
Although one in four Americans buys their prescription medications online,1 there are several risks that you should be aware of. Here’s why buying hydrocodone online might not be the best option.
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What is Hydrocodone?
Hydrocodone is a prescription painkiller, also known as a narcotic. It is an opioid that is used to treat moderate to severe pain and cough. Sold under the brand names Vicodin and Norco (among others), hydrocodone is only legally available with a valid prescription.2
Hydrocodone works by changing the way the brain and nervous system respond to pain. When used for medical purposes, it produces feelings of calmness and relaxation. It can also produce feelings of euphoria, which makes it a prime candidate for abuse.
Similar to other prescription opioid drugs, hydrocodone is highly addictive and can cause tolerance, dependence, and addiction. It is classified as a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act.3
Signs of Hydrocodone Abuse
Not only is hydrocodone one of the most commonly prescribed opioids, but it is also frequently abused recreationally.4 According to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 11.1 million people misused prescription opioids, and of those, 6.3 million misused hydrocodone.5
Signs of hydrocodone abuse may include:
- Taking someone else’s hydrocodone prescription
- Taking more frequent or larger doses of hydrocodone than are medically necessary
- Taking hydrocodone with the intention of getting high
- Altering hydrocodone medication in any way such as crushing the pills, snorting the powder, or injecting it
- Taking hydrocodone with other drugs or alcohol to enhance its effects
Hydrocodone abuse has many risks including medical problems, psychological issues, personal and financial consequences, and deadly overdose. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, there were 1,826 total hydrocodone exposures, 832 single exposures, and two deaths associated with hydrocodone in the U.S. in 2016.6
Signs of Hydrocodone Overdose
Abusing hydrocodone with other drugs or alcohol can increase a person’s risk for deadly overdose and about 46 people die every day from drug overdoses caused by prescription opioids like hydrocodone.7
Signs and symptoms of a hydrocodone overdose include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Falling asleep
- Slow, shallow breathing
- Choking or gurgling sounds
- Small pinpoint pupils
- Pale, blue, or cold skin8
If you think someone is overdosing on hydrocodone, you should seek emergency help immediately. You may also administer naloxone (Narcan) if you have it and know how to use it.
Why Do People Buy Hydrocodone Online?
People may buy hydrocodone online for many reasons, especially if they are addicted or dependent on it to feel “normal.” Here are some common reasons for buying hydrocodone online:
- Needing more hydrocodone quickly
- Not wanting to buy through a dealer
- Being unable to get a hydrocodone prescription from a doctor
- Wanting to find cheaper hydrocodone than is available locally on the streets
- Wanting to buy hydrocodone but preferring to remain anonymous
Dangers of Buying Hydrocodone Online
Although buying hydrocodone may seem like an ideal solution for many individuals, there are several reasons why you may want to reconsider.
- Many online pharmacies that sell hydrocodone are not legitimate or legal. No matter how convincing a website may seem, many online pharmacies are not legally operating businesses. In fact, a random sampling by the FDA found that 97 percent of online pharmacies are illegitimate and there are an estimated 40,000 illegal online pharmacies in existence.1 This means that most online pharmacies do not conform to U.S. laws and regulations regarding the sale of prescription drugs online or regulations regarding consumer safety.
- You could accidentally buy counterfeit hydrocodone. If you are buying from an illegitimate pharmacy, there is absolutely no guarantee that the hydrocodone you buy is even real. Counterfeit hydrocodone pills may be formulated incorrectly, contain no active ingredient, or they may even contain dangerous ingredients such as trace amounts of the deadly opioid drugs fentanyl or carfentanil.
- Your financial information may not be safe. When you buy anything online, there’s always a chance that your financial information could be stolen or misused. Unfortunately, that chance greatly increases when you purchase drugs from an illegitimate pharmacy.
- You could suffer legal consequences. Buying hydrocodone online without a valid prescription is against the law. Even if you think your information is anonymous, it may not be, and authorities could arrest you, fine you, or put you in jail. Additionally, purchasing hydrocodone from another country that is illegally shipped to America could result in felony charges.
- You could experience negative physical side effects. If the hydrocodone you purchase online is counterfeit and you consume it, you may experience harmful or even deadly side effects. Risking your health or your life is never worth it.
Fake Hydrocodone Online
One of the primary concerns with buying hydrocodone online is that it could be fake. Consuming counterfeit medication is unpredictable, dangerous, and could lead to overdose or other potentially fatal consequences.
If you consume counterfeit hydrocodone and end up needing emergency medical care, it may also be difficult for medical professionals to treat you because they won’t know what substances you actually consumed.
To make matters worse, it’s often difficult to distinguish counterfeit hydrocodone from the real thing. The packaging may look legitimate and the appearance of the drug itself could give no indication that it is fake, but it may very well be.
Buying Hydrocodone Online: Is it safe?
If you’re thinking about buying hydrocodone online, the question it likely boils down to is, “Is it safe?” When you consider all the risks and potential dangers, it is clear that buying hydrocodone online without a valid prescription is not safe. The only safe way to buy hydrocodone online is if you purchase it from a verified online pharmacy with a legitimate prescription.
If you’re addicted to hydrocodone, there may seem like no other option, especially if you’re facing the very real discomfort of opioid withdrawal symptoms. However, there is another way.
Briarwood Detox Center provides a safe, supportive, and sober environment with caring drug detox professionals who are ready to assist you. We offer medically-assisted drug and alcohol detox programs for people in all walks of life and with varying degrees of addictions.