Can I shoot up Vicodin?
Vicodin is the brand name for hydrocodone and acetaminophen. It is a semi-synthetic opioid and is prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain. Vicodin is also one of the most commonly abused prescription drugs in the United States.
Like other opioids, Vicodin works by binding with opioid receptors in the brain. It binds to the same receptors that the bodies’ natural painkillers bind to. After prolonged Vicodin use, the body stops producing natural painkillers, resulting in dependency. Opiates are such powerful narcotics that the body can become dependent on them even when they prescribed by a physician for the treatment of pain and are taken in the prescribed dosage.
People using Vicodin illicitly may try to shoot up or snort Vicodin. The first problem when you shoot up Vicodin, however, is that Vicodin contains acetaminophen, which can damage heart and blood vessels. There are extraction methods you can use if you want to shoot up Vicodin to remove the acetaminophen, but no matter how carefully you do it, you will have some acetaminophen left, and you will likely lose some of the hydrocodone in the extraction process.
Another reason you shouldn’t try to shoot up Vicodin is that the hydrocodone can cause a potentially deadly histamine reaction with IV use. This is very dangerous. Even if the histamine reaction does not cause death, it can cause an abscess, which can get infected and cause you to lose a limb.
Finally, you shouldn’t shoot up Vicodin because it actually makes it less effective. When Vicodin is taken orally, it undergoes metabolism in the liver. The hydrocodone is converted into hydromorphone, which is a much stronger opioid. In fact, experts aren’t even sure that hydrocodone itself has any opioid action. It may be what is known as a “prodrug.” A prodrug is a drug that has no action itself, but when it is broken down in the liver, the metabolite of the drug has the desired effect. Hydrocodone may have minor effects on its own, so it may not be a true prodrug. However, the effects of hydrocodone itself are so minimal, that it can be viewed as a prodrug.
When you shoot up Vicodin, you lose this “first-pass metabolism” in the liver. The hydrocodone never gets broken down into hydromorphone, so its effect is very weak.
When you shoot up Vicodin or any other drug, you are using the drug in a way that it is not prescribed. This is known as abuse, and abuse of Vicodin can quickly lead to dependence and addiction. Opiates such as Vicodin are highly addictive. When the body becomes dependent on Vicodin and use is stopped, it can cause very painful withdrawal symptoms. Signs of Vicodin withdrawal are similar to flu symptoms and include: sweating, goose bumps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and cramping.
Even if you do not become dependent or addicted, abuse of Vicodin can be very dangerous even deadly. Vicodin causes a suppression of breathing which can result in coma or death, particularly when Vicodin is combined with alcohol or other drugs.