Major metro areas in Colorado such as Boulder, Colorado Springs and Denver as well as smaller cities and towns throughout the state have been grappling with an opioid epidemic. For several years Colorado led the way in terms of deaths related to opioid overdoses, but in the past year work on the part of public officials has lowered that number a bit, however, Colorado is still one of the top states regarding opioid abuse.
A big part of helping to reduce opioid abuse, whether it’s prescription drugs or heroin, is education, and explaining to people just how addictive these drugs are.
One opioid that’s frequently abused not only in Colorado but around the nation is called Lortab. Below we’ll explore what Lortab is, whether it’s addictive, and how long it takes to get addicted to Lortab.
What Is Lortab?
Lortab is a prescription opioid that’s used to relieve pain, and in some cases, it can be prescribed as a cough suppressant. It’s a combination drug, so it contains hydrocodone bitartrate, which is the opioid component, and it also contains acetaminophen, which is the active ingredient in Tylenol. It’s intended only to be used by prescription and as directed by a physician, and it is for the treatment of pain that ranges from moderate to severe.
This semi-synthetic opioid, when taken in larger doses, acts in a way that’s similar to OxyContin, and it can produce a high in the user.
While Lortab does have medical applications, it’s not without risks, and some of them can be severe or deadly.
There are the dangers that come with taking high doses of opioids, but also the risks of overdosing on acetaminophen, and people have to be particularly aware of both of these types of risks.
With opioids, if you take a large dose it can lead to minor side effects like drowsiness or nausea, but also severe side effects. One of the most severe potential side effects of any opioid including Lortab is that it can lead to respiratory failure. This is because these drugs act on the central nervous system and slow it down as a way to change the way you sense pain. It is effective for dealing with pain, but if you take a high dose, it can slow down bodily functions so much that you slip into a coma or die.
Acetaminophen is a drug that may be available over the counter, but it’s dangerous when taken in high doses as well. It can cause liver damage and even acute liver failure, so with Lortab, unlike drugs that only contain an opioid component, the person taking it may ultimately suffer from liver damage and toxicity from the acetaminophen before they could take enough of the drug to experience an opioid overdose.
While Lortab is a drug available by prescription in Colorado and around the country, many people use it for non-medical reasons as well. For example, people may obtain Lortab illicitly or by being dishonest with a prescribing doctor and take it for feelings of euphoria or being high, to calm down and relieve stress and anxiety, to go to sleep, or to numb their emotions.
Are Lortabs Addictive?
There has been a big push in Denver, Colorado Springs, Boulder and throughout Colorado not only to educate people about the addictive nature and risks of drugs like Lortab but also to encourage doctors to be more discerning in the prescribing of these drugs.
This is because Lortab and other prescription painkillers like it have a high likelihood to be habit-forming.
Opioids bind to certain receptors in the central nervous system and in doing so they not only relieve pain, but they also release dopamine and stimulate your brain’s pleasure and reward systems. When this happens, your brain starts pushing you to compulsively continue seeking the stimulus that led to the dopamine release. That’s how the disease of addiction begins, and once that happens, it is difficult to treat.
Some of the signs a person could be suffering from an addiction to Lortab includes seeming drowsy often including at strange times, as well as withdrawing from responsibilities and relationships.
With an addiction to Lortab, there may or may not be a physical dependence as well.
Essentially with opioids and many other drugs, when you take them for a prolonged period your brain, and your body becomes used to their presence. This means you have to take higher doses for the same desired effect, and if you are physically dependent and stop using them suddenly, you will experience withdrawal symptoms.
How Long Does It Take To Get Addicted To Lortab?
As doctors in Colorado are being encouraged to be incredibly careful with their prescribing of Lortab and other opioids, people wonder how long it takes to get addicted to Lortab and whether or not there is a safe amount of time you can take this prescription drug.
There’s no answer to a definite time period that it takes to get addicted to Lortab, and it depends on the individual and the situation.
If you are prescribed Lortab and take it exactly as directed you lower your risk of becoming addicted, but there is still the chance it could occur. If you take Lortab for a few weeks or less the risk of addiction is also lower, but again some people report becoming addicted to the drug after only taking it a few times.
If you or someone you love is struggling with Lortab addiction in Colorado, there are resources available, and often the best course of treatment is professional inpatient therapy because of the difficult nature of being addicted to opioids like Lortab.