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Is Demerol Addictive?

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

Medically reviewed by

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

June 3, 2019

Demerol is a prescription painkiller used to treat moderate to severe pain. Like other opioids, Demerol comes with the potential for abuse and addiction. Formal treatment may be recommended for someone looking to overcome an addiction to this drug.

Demerol, which is the brand name for meperidine, is a prescription medication used in the treatment of moderate to severe pain. This drug is an opioid painkiller that is also known as pethidine.

As with other opioids, Demerol comes with the potential for dependence and addiction. Demerol works similarly to other opioids like morphine and oxycodone.

Demerol is available in both tablets and as an injectable liquid. This drug is only available with a prescription; however, Demerol is still widely abused and can be obtained on the street. Common street names for this substance include “dust” and “dillies.”

People who abuse Demerol are at risk for a number of adverse side effects as well as overdose. Abusing Demerol can also increase the chances of physical dependence and addiction to the drug.

What Makes Demerol Addictive?

Like other opioids, Demerol can be highly addictive, especially when abused. This drug works on the opioid receptors in the brain. Demerol changes the way a person perceives pain and effectively reduces feelings of pain.

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Demerol also impacts the reward system in the brain by increasing neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. By doing so, this drug can elicit feelings of pleasure and euphoria. The more Demerol a person takes, the more likely he or she is to experience these pleasurable effects.

Taking Demerol for an extended period of time or abusing the drug can result in developing a tolerance. Tolerance means that a person must take more of the drug to experience the same pleasurable effects.

Tolerance and continued abuse of Demerol can quickly lead to physical dependence and addiction. When a person is physically dependent on this substance, he or she will take the drug just to feel normal. This can fuel the cycle of abuse and addiction.

Treatment For Demerol Abuse And Addiction

Quitting Demerol can be incredibly hard when attempted on one’s own. Many people will need formal treatment to successfully overcome opioid addiction.

Inpatient programs are often considered the best form of treatment for substance use addiction. Inpatient treatment offers intensive, daily programs of recovery that are catered to each person’s needs. Many people will need to spend several weeks or months in an inpatient program to get and stay sober.

To learn more about the addictive nature of Demerol, contact a treatment specialist today.

FDA - Demerol

JAMA Network - ADDICTION TO MEPERIDINE (DEMEROL) HYDROCHLORIDE

RxList - Demerol

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