Written By: Fiona Stockard
The Common Types of Pain Pills
Medicine cabinets everywhere are becoming the new drug dealers! You no longer have to brave a dangerous neighborhood to get loaded. Instead, you only have to go into your parent’s bathroom to find a wealth of pain pills.
Pain pills are classified as any pill that falls under the opioid category. This family of drugs produces sedative effects and are central nervous system depressants. They’re prescribed to treat, well, pain. They’re also sometimes used as anesthetics during surgery.
Pain pill abuse and addiction is quickly becoming a huge medical issue. Some pain pills, like morphine, have been around for centuries, while others are relatively new. It’s only since the mid 1900’s that people looking for a quick fix have been using doctors to get high.
Below are some of the most commonly abused, and most addicting, pain pills.
Morphine (Kadin, MS-Contin, Roxanol)
Morphine is the oldest pain pill around. First synthesized in 1804, and first marketed in 1817, morphine is the grandfather of all other opioids.
Although not always a pill, it has always been addicting. This is true despite being advertised as a cure for alcohol and opium addiction. Thus began the long history of one opiate being used to cure addiction to another.
Oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet, Roxicet)
Oxycodone has been used to treat moderate and acute pain since 1917. However, it was the introduction of OxyContin in the 90’s that sparked an enormous spike in abuse and addiction.
OxyContin is a form of time-release oxycodone, with no acetaminophen or ibuprofen. When users crush the pill, the time-release coating is destroyed and the full dose of oxycodone is available at once.
Oxycodone abuse typically starts with users orally taking the pills. As tolerance increases, they begin to crush and snort the pills. As oxycodone addiction takes over, users crush and inject the pills.
Roxicet is also a form of time-release oxycodone. This particular drug gained popularity in south Florida during the late 00’s. As Roxicet abuse became widespread, users began to switch to Dilaudid.
Hydromorphone was first synthesized in 1924. However, like many of its cousins, it didn’t gain popularity until the end of the 20th century. Hydromorphone has only one brand name, Dilaudid.
Hydromorphone is eight to ten times stronger than morphine and three to five times stronger than heroin.
Hydromorphone crosses the blood brain barrier faster than any other opioid. This means that when the addicts inject the drug, it produces a stronger “rush.” This also means that Dilaudid addiction is more likely.
Methadone (Dolophine, Methadose)
Methadone is a synthetic opioid, first created in Germany in 1937. Germany was deep in World War I and needed an internal source of pain management drugs for its soldiers.
Methadone, marketed under the brand names Dolophine and Methadose, is the longest acting opioid drug. This makes it slightly harder to abuse than other opioids. It does, however, make the withdrawal longer and tougher.
Today, Methadone is most commonly used as treatment for other opiate addictions. Methadone, combined with counseling, is a useful form of harm reduction. Many addicts are said to be on “methadone maintenance.”
However, methadone maintenance is a controversial idea. Proponents say it helps “cure” drug addiction. Critics say it leads only to further addiction, methadone addiction.
Buprenorphine (Suboxone, Subutex)
Although buprenorphine has been around since 1971, it’s only been widely used since 2002. Buprenorphine is an interesting drug, in that it’s both an opioid agonist and an antagonist. This means that it activates and deactivates opiate receptors in the brain at the same time.
Buprenorphine, like methadone, is used primarily as a “anti-addiction” drug. It’s used as both an opiate maintenance and detox drug. Buprenorphine is commonly available under the brand names Suboxone and Subutex.
As it increases in recognition, buprenorphine addiction has also been rearing its ugly head around the country. Inexperienced opioid users are often first turned onto opioids by buprenorphine.