Dilaudid is a partially synthetic opioid containing hydromorphone. Dilaudid is one the oldest semi-synthetic opioids. Coming on the market in 1926, shortly after Congress banned the distribution and sale of diacetylmorphine (heroin). Dilaudid is a potent painkiller with a very fast onset of effects and a short length of action, and is prescribed to manage moderate to severe pain. Dilaudid is thought to be approximately 7 times stronger than morphine, and is generally not indicated for use in those who are not already opioid tolerant.
Effects of Dilaudid
Like most all opioid painkillers, Dilaudid produces a fast and intense euphoria in users, whether it is taken for medical or recreational purposes. As a result of its intense and immediate effects and short length of action, Dilaudid is a preferred drug among those who abuse opioids. Much like the other potent opioids, Dilaudid’s effects on an individual include intense euphoria as well as:
- Respiratory depression
- Constricted (pinpoint) pupils
Because Dilaudid is among the most potent opioids available, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has listed it as a Schedule II narcotic, meaning that while it does have an accepted medical use, it also has a high potential for abuse and is considered to be dangerous. Dilaudid is listed here in the company of OxyContin and Fentanyl.
Dangers of Dilaudid Addiction
Addiction is classified as the continued use of a substance or engagement in a behavior despite repeated negative consequences resulting from said substance and/or behavior. Dilaudid addiction can develop very quickly because of its fast onset of effects and short length of action, but when an individual finds him/herself psychologically addicted to this drug, several things about the way he or she thinks, and is motivated begin to change. Examples of this are as follows:
- Dilaudid is the only source for happiness and a sense of well-being in life
- Other activities and people are no longer interesting or worthwhile
- Obsession over where the next dose of Dilaudid will come from, constant concern over having enough of the drug
- Extreme agitation or anger when asked about Dilaudid use
- Increased need for isolation and privacy
- Willingness to abandon friends and loved ones in order to continue use of Dilaudid
- Inability to link negative consequences in life to Dilaudid use
- Failed attempts to cut down or stop use of Dilaudid
- Inability to motivate oneself to do anything other than get and use Dilaudid
These psychological symptoms of Dilaudid addiction are the causes of the unmanageability addicts inevitably suffer until such time that they receive help for their addiction. These types of skewed thoughts lead to serious problems with the addict and his or her loved ones. Some of these problems include, but are not limited to:
- Legal trouble related to Dilaudid use and acquisition
- Troubled and/or broken relationships as a result of Dilaudid use
- Engagement in illegal activity to get more Dilaudid (i.e. doctor shopping, forging prescriptions, usage of pill mills or online pharmacies buying from street dealers, etc.
- Performing sexual favors or prostitution for money to by more Dilaudid
- Financial trouble over purchasing excessive amounts of Dilaudid (i.e. bankruptcy, accounts in collections, repossession, foreclosure, etc.
- Health complications from excessive use of, or overdose from Dilaudid
- Inability to maintain a job, home, or steady relationship resulting from Dilaudid abuse
Dilaudid Addiction Sources
Dilaudid addiction comes at a very high cost to those who suffer from it. Although this drug is the product of medical professionals who try to improve quality of life, the same medical professionals are the source of the Dilaudid that is being abused and distributed illegally on the black market. There are a few main methods for addicts to use medical doctors and physicians to maintain their addiction to Dilaudid.
- Pill Mills – Pill mills are most often branded as health clinics or independent practices. Within the walls of these buildings, licensed doctors and physicians exchange prescriptions for Dilaudid and other dangerous prescription drugs for cash with no medical examination or justification. While law enforcement has made tremendous efforts to identify and stop those who engage in this burgeoning business, many addicts still have little difficulty finding doctors willing to get some extra cash for their signature on a prescription sheet.
- Overseas Online Pharmacies – Online pharmacies operate overseas, where controlled drug laws are lenient and/or nonexistent, and will ship a variety of prescription drugs for no more than a mailing address and a credit card. Drugs ranging from Dilaudid to Viagra, OxyContin to Xanax can be obtained through this method, and the DEA has been widely ineffective in eliminating this epidemic.
- Doctor Shopping – Doctor shopping is a term used to describe the utilization of different doctors for multiple prescriptions for Dilaudid, among various other drugs of addiction. Most often, one solo practitioner has no way of knowing what other doctors an individual has visited, and what he or she may have obtained from that doctor. So long as an individual does not use his or her health insurance, he/she can be assured that one doctor will not have access to the prescriptions written by another. Additionally, individuals who engage in doctor shopping have remained one step ahead by filling their prescriptions at multiple different pharmacy brands to ensure they’re prescription history is not suspicious as well.
In addition to using medical professionals to obtain Dilaudid, addicts also get the drug from friends and family members for whom prescriptions have been written. This often involves theft, or taking without one’s knowledge and/or permission. Additionally, street level drug dealers have cashed in on the prescription drug addiction epidemic and are now finding larger profits in sales of drugs like Dilaudid than illicit drugs. On the street, Dilaudid can sell for up to 8 times the cost of prescriptions.
Signs of Dilaudid Addiction
As with any other addiction, there are signs that may indicate when an individual is addicted to Dilaudid. Many of the signs of Dilaudid addiction are behavioral, while many others can be related to an individual’s physical appearance. Some of these signs are as follows:
- Change in appearance and personal hygiene, individual may not appear as well groomed as normal
- Change in friends and/or associates, likely seen with known drug users or those with a less than respectable reputation
- Increased isolation from friends and family
- Track marks at injection sites, such as arms, hands, feet, legs, and neck
- Wearing long pants and sleeves in hot weather
- Drastic mood swings
- Sudden and unexplained financial trouble
- lack of motivation and interest
- Weight loss
- Frequent absences and/or disappearances from functions and gatherings
- Inability to maintain a job
- Increased isolation or insistence upon excessive privacy
- Withdrawal symptoms when not using Dilaudid
Some signs of Dilaudid addiction in those who have been prescribed the drug for legitimate medical purposes can be:
- Using Dilaudid in unintended ways (i.e. snorting or injecting the drug)
- Using more Dilaudid than indicated on the prescription and without permission from the prescribing doctor
- Increased complaints of pain coupled with demands for higher and/or more frequent doses, despite taking Dilaudid
- Skipping a dose in order to justify the need for a double dose later
- Taking other depressant drugs (like heroin, other painkillers, benzodiazepines, and/or alcohol) for the purpose of enhancing the effects of Dilaudid
Since Dilaudid has an intense and fast onset and action, the withdrawal from it is similar. Typically, withdrawal from Dilaudid is among the most severe of all opioids, but it is one of the shortest. Generally peaking around 14-21 hours after the last dose of Dilaudid, withdrawal symptoms can include:
- High fever
- Severe anxiety
- Intense cravings
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle pain and spasms
- Heightened blood pressure and heart rate
The severity of these withdrawal symptoms can vary depending on the amount of Dilaudid an individual has been taking and whether or not other drugs have been abused with it. With no other complications or drugs involved, the intense and painful withdrawal from Dilaudid is typically over in 36-72 hours.
Additionally, depending on the severity of the addiction, an individual may feel prolonged symptoms of
for several weeks, months, or even years after detox has been completed.
Dilaudid Addiction Treatment
Dilaudid addiction is a dangerous condition, and has already claimed thousands of lives, but there is treatment and it does work to save lives from this horrific disease. Dilaudid addiction treatment begins with detox, which is recommended to take place under the care of trained medical staff to ensure the avoidance of complications and help to ease the process. Once detox is completed, an effective addiction treatment program is necessary, and the type of program that is best is determined based on an individual’s needs, preferences, and spiritual beliefs. The program that works for one person may not work for the next, but the right program works.
If you, or a loved one are suffering from an addiction to Dilaudid, please call to speak with a trained counselor about the needs, preferences and belief system of the individual in need. We will work with you to determine the best course of addiction treatment, based on the personalized approach and effectiveness of the program for the individual. Please don’t wait. Dilaudid is a dangerous drug when it is being abused, and without help, addiction will continue to claim lives. We are here to help. Please call now.