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Is Hydrocodone A Controlled Substance?

Jennifer Cousineau MSCP, LPCI, NCC

Medically reviewed by

Jennifer Cousineau, MSCP, LPCI, NCC

April 1, 2019

Hydrocodone is a popular prescription pain medication classified as a Schedule II substance. This drug is part of the opioid family and comes with a high risk of abuse, dependence, and addiction.

Hydrocodone is an opioid medication used in the treatment of pain relief and is considered a controlled substance by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This drug is typically reserved for those who have severe, around-the-clock pain and who do not respond well to other pain medications.

Hydrocodone is offered in both extended-release capsules and extended-release tablets. This drug is typically taken once a day or every 12 hours. Hydrocodone is not used in the treatment of pain that comes and goes or that can be treated on an as-needed basis.

As an opioid, hydrocodone works by changing how the brain and central nervous system respond to pain. By binding to opioid receptors in the body, this drug blocks the sensation of pain. Hydrocodone also floods the brain with dopamine, eliciting feelings of euphoria and pleasure.

Because of how this substance affects the brain and body, it has a high potential for abuse and addiction. For this reason, hydrocodone is a controlled substance that is tightly monitored by the FDA.

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What Is A Controlled Substance?

Controlled substances are drugs that are regulated by the FDA. There are five different categories of controlled substances: Schedule I, Schedule II, Schedule III, Schedule IV, and Schedule V.

Schedule II and Schedule III are the most highly regulated drugs. These are prescription medications that have a high potential for abuse and addiction, with Schedule II drugs being the most dangerous.

Hydrocodone is classified as a Schedule II drug due to its high potential for abuse and severe physical and psychological dependence. Other Schedule II drugs include methadone, oxycodone, and morphine.

Schedule II substances are highly monitored by the FDA. This makes it more difficult for individuals to abuse the drugs. However, abuse is still possible, especially when the substances are obtained on the street.

Hydrocodone Abuse And Addiction Treatment

Hydrocodone is abused in a number of ways. Several individuals illegally use hydrocodone by purchasing it on the street. Other people begin taking hydrocodone as prescribed and soon find themselves misusing the substance.

No matter how an addiction to hydrocodone comes about, the dangers are the same. Abusing opioids like hydrocodone can have a number of significant consequences that range from moderate to deadly.

If you or a loved one is addicted to hydrocodone, it’s important to know that you are not alone. There are several treatment options available to help overcome opioid addiction and reclaim your life.

Inpatient programs have proven highly successful in the treatment of hydrocodone addiction. These programs provide customized and intensive plans of recovery that are suited to each individual’s needs.

To learn more about whether hydrocodone is a controlled substance and the treatment available for overcoming an opioid addiction, contact us today.

Drug Enforcement Administration - Definition of Controlled Substance Schedules

MedlinePlus - Hydrocodone

Arthritis Foundation - DEA Tightens Rules for Hydrocodone Combo Pills

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