Hydrocodone is an opioid pain medication and is used to treat severe pain for a prolonged duration. This particular type of opioid pain medication is prescribed to patients when other measures are not sufficient. Hydrocodone is also used as a cough suppressant for adults and is sold in combination with acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Hydrocodone is a long-acting formulation, which is why it is used to treat chronic to severe pain. It was first made in Germany in 1920 and was approved by Health Canada for sale in Canada in 1943 under the name Hycodan. Today hydrocodone is prescribed as an extended-release long-acting capsule and an extended-release long-acting tablet. The capsule is often prescribed to be taken every 12 hours, and the tablet is typically taken once per day. Like any other type of opioid medication, there are many side effects. This includes stomach pain, headaches, muscle tightening, foot leg and ankle swelling, and uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body. The dangers with the medication involve difficulty and shallow breathing, changes in heartbeat, loss of appetite, and nausea or vomiting.
Opioid abuse and addiction have affected Canadians all throughout the country. Between January 2016 and December 2018 there were more than 11,500 opioid-related deaths. It was estimated that in 2018, around 94% of the opioid-related deaths were accidental. Most of the deaths happened among males who made up 74% per Health Canada. Fentanyl continues to be the main opioid drug causing these deaths. In 2018, 73% of the opioid-related deaths involved fentanyl. According to Health Canada, in 2018 there were 1,152 opioid-related deaths in British Columbia, 775 in Alberta, and 1,471 in Ontario. In 2018, 26% of those who died because of opioids were between the ages of 30 and 39, 22% were between 50 and 59, and 21% were between 40 and 49 years of age. Hydrocodone is one opioid pain medication among many resulting in addiction and drug-related deaths across Canada.
In 2016, Health Canada took steps to limit the use of prescription opioids among children and adolescents. For example, codeine is no longer prescribed to patients under 18 years of age, and hydrocodone is no longer prescribed to patients under six years of age. Health Canada is encouraging all prescribers to prescribe these drugs at the lowest possible dosage, and practitioners are encouraged to be judicious in their prescribing practices. In 2016, the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse and Addiction (CCSA) reported that opioid pain relievers were used by 13% of the population. This was down from 2013, where it was 15% of the population. However, hospitalizations due to opioid poisoning have been increasing. Many of the prescription opioids being abused are obtained illegally, and overdose is caused by mixing drugs and taking more than the body is accustomed to.
The cost of the harm caused by opioids is estimated to cost Canadian taxpayers close to $3.5 billion dollars annually. There are countless families across the country being affected by the devastating impacts of opioids. Opioid addiction is difficult to treat, and most users do not catch the problem quickly enough. The longer you remain on prescription opioids such as hydrocodone, the more your body becomes dependent on the drug. A tolerance develops, and it becomes dangerous to stop taking pain medication without the help of a medical professional. The first step in treatment is medical detox, where the patient can safely stop taking the medication. Once detox is complete, the focus is then placed on treatment. This process should address the underlying issues connected to the addiction. There are always reasons why someone starts to abuse prescription opioids, and some are deep-rooted issues, whereas others relied on them to treat pain and became addicted. When you are searching for opioid treatment programs in Canada to help with hydrocodone addiction. The treatment process should include proper medical detox and rehabilitation, along with effective aftercare.