Vicodin Addiction: Real Facts and Statistics About America’s Favorite Painkiller

Written By: Lighthouse Editorial Team

Our editorial team includes content experts that contribute to Lighthouse Recovery Institute’s blog. Editors and medical experts review our blogs for accuracy and relevance. We consistently monitor the latest research from SAMHSA and NIDA to provide you with the most comprehensive addiction-related content.

Published on Oct 15, 2014 | Rehab Treatment Options

Vicodin is America’s favorite pain pill. It accounts for more prescriptions, more pills, more overdoses, and more deaths than any other prescription painkiller. This is especially troubling considering painkillers already account for three of four drug overdoses.

Vicodin reigns supreme over prescription drugs. What about Vicodin addiction facts, though? With so much hype surrounding this drug, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s real and what’s false. Which Vicodin addiction statistics are true? Which facts about Vicodin addiction matter?

Learn the truth about Vicodin addiction facts with Lighthouse Recovery Institute.

Vicodin Addiction Facts

Find six Vicodin addiction facts below:

• Vicodin is a brand name combination of hydrocodone (a narcotic painkiller) and acetaminophen (an OTC analgesic). The most frequently prescribed hydrocodone pills are Vicodin and Lortab.

• Hydrocodone pills are the most prescribed painkillers in America. Over 140 million prescriptions were written in 2010 alone. In fact, Americans love drugs like Vicodin so much that we consume 99% of the world’s hydrocodone.

• It’s estimated that over 99,000 kilograms of hydrocodone will be produced in 2014. This amounts to over 198,000 pounds of pure hydrocodone.

• As of August 22nd, 2014, all hydrocodone products, including Vicodin, were moved from Schedule III to Schedule II. This means there are stricter regulations upon their prescription and dispensing.

• Prior to 1990, certain combinations of hydrocodone and OTC analgesics were classified as Schedule V. This means they were available without a prescription in many states.

• Hydrocodone is six times stronger than codeine. This led many researchers and scientists to call it “VI,” the Roman numeral for six. That’s how the brand name Vicodin was invented.

Vicodin Addiction Statistics

Find five Vicodin addiction statistics below:

• In 2009, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimated upwards of twenty-three million Americans have taken Vicodin, or other hydrocodone products, for nonmedical purposes.

• Of those over twenty-three million people, two million meet the criteria for Vicodin addiction.

• In 2006, hydrocodone sent more than 57,000 people to the ER.

• According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, in 2009 there were over 27,000 hydrocodone exposures.

• In 2010, Vicodin abuse sent over 115,000 people to the ER.

What are the deadly side effects of prescription pill abuse?

What Do These Vicodin Addiction Facts and Statistics Mean For You?

These statistics and facts about Vicodin addiction are scary! With over two million Vicodin addicts, and far more who abuse the drug, the phrase “painkiller epidemic” rings true. With Vicodin sending upwards of 100,000 people to emergency rooms, it’s clear something needs to be done.

Now that hydrocodone products have been classified as Schedule II narcotics, there should be lower levels of abuse. We should see a downward trend of Vicodin abuse and addiction. Still, there’s a larger problem at hand.

These facts about Vicodin addiction make it clear that Americans love prescription painkillers. Remember, we consume 99% of the world’s hydrocodone. That needs to change! We need to look less to pills to cure our problems and more to alternative routes.

When we start implementing healthy alternatives, we’ll see true recovery from the prescription painkiller epidemic.

Cite This Article
Lighthouse Editorial Team. "Vicodin Addiction: Real Facts and Statistics About America’s Favorite Painkiller." Lighthouse Recovery Institute., Published on Oct 15, 2014,


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