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Hydromorphone Addiction (Dilaudid®)

Dilaudid is a brand name for the medication hydromorphone. Hydromorphone is a narcotic pain reliever that is derived from morphine, yet it is almost ten times as potent as morphine. Dilaudid is prescribed for medium to severe pain. For those who use Dilaudid, there is a strong risk for abuse and for the development of severe breathing problems that may be fatal.

What Are the Street Names for Dilaudid?

Dilaudid and its generic form hydromorphone are referred to by various street names when used for illicit purposes. Common letter and number references include D, Big-D, M-2, M-80s, Crazy-8s, and Super-8. Names that are derived from the brand name and medication names include Dill, Dilly, Dillies, and Hydros. This drug may also be referred to as Dust, Moose, Smack, Juice, Footballs, White Triangles, Peaches, Shake & Bake, Hospital Heroin, Drug Store Heroin, and Hillbilly Heroin. Other names might be used in different regions. Street names vary by region and may change over time.

What Is the Federal Classification for Dilaudid?

This narcotic pain reliever carries a classification of a Schedule II Controlled Substance. This is because there are accepted medical treatment applications for use of this medication, but it has a strong potential for abuse with a high potential for both psychological and physical abuse.

What Does Dilaudid Look Like?

The brand name Dilaudid is available in many forms and dosage strengths. Tablets are available in several shapes and colors with different imprints depending on the dosage of the tablet. These tablets may be round and int eh colors of yellow, orange, or pink. Tablets may also be in the form of white triangles. A letter or shape imprint is found on one side of the pill with a number on the reverse side. Imprints may include “a”, “a a”, “K”, “P”, “P d”, two triangles, 2, 3, 4, or 8. Generics offer even more shapes, colors, and imprints. Dilaudid is also available in liquid form, capsules, powder, suppositories, and injections.

How Is It Used?

Since there are many forms of Dilaudid, there are many ways this narcotic pain reliever may be abused. Dilaudid may be taken orally. Pills may be crushed and snorted or smoked. Any form may be dissolved in liquid and injected. For those who abuse this drug, injection if the preferred method due to the increased feeling of euphoria and quicker reaction time.

What Are the Risks of Using Dilaudid?

As with any opioid pain reliever, using Dilaudid carries the risk of abuse, increased tolerance, dependence, addiction, and withdrawal. Due to its strength and depressant effects on the central nervous system, Dilaudid also carries an increased risk of respiratory failure and death. Dilaudid is contraindicated in those taking certain other medications and for those with certain health problems. Side effects of using Dilaudid include:

  • gastrointestinal disturbances
  • skin flushing
  • blurred vision
  • Dizziness or confusion
  • Dry mouth
  • Sweating
  • Itching
  • Heart palpitations
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Insomnia
  • Seizures

How Does This Drug Affect the Mind?

Dilaudid works in the same way as other opiate and opioid pain relievers by affecting the way that the brain perceives pain and bringing a feeling of euphoria and sense of relaxation. This drug attaches itself to receptors in the brain and with continued use can actually change the way the brain functions. These changes lead to increased tolerance or need for more of the drug to receive the same effect. There is a very high risk of dependence on this drug, and withdrawal symptoms may occur as quickly as a few hours after the last dose of this medication.

How Does This Drug Affect the Body?

Dilaudid has strong, depressant effects on the central nervous system. This can cause a decrease in heart rate, rhythm disturbances in a heartbeat, slower respiration, breathing difficulty, and lower blood pressure. Gastrointestinal effects may be noted, including nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, or constipation.

What Are the Overdose Effects of Dilaudid?

It can be easy to overdose on Dilaudid. Taking a dose higher than that prescribed by a physician can very easily become fatal. Taking Dilaudid with other central nervous system depressants is another way that overdose can occur. If overdose is expected, it is important to seek emergency medical treatment immediately. Overdose symptoms may include:

  • Constricted pupils
  • Weak pulse
  • Extreme drowsiness or stupor
  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Blue lips or nails
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Little or no breathing
  • Heart attack
  • Coma

What Are the Short Term Effects of Using Dilaudid?

In the short term, Dilaudid users experience relief from pain, a feeling of euphoria followed by a feeling of relaxation. Users may feel relief from any anxiety or stress they may have felt, along with an improved mood. Dilaudid can cause periods of nausea and skin flushing with feelings of heat, but these feelings typically come and go. Mental functioning is reduced. It may be difficult for users to perform physical tasks accurately, as motor skills are affected as well. Reaction times are slowed, making it dangerous for Dilaudid users to drive, operate machinery, or perform any tasks which require full mental and physical functioning.

What Are the Long Term Effects of Using Dilaudid?

Those who use Dilaudid for long periods of time risk dependence and increased tolerance to the drug. This can lead to an increased risk of overdose and addiction. The longer an individual uses this drug, the greater the risk of developing withdrawal symptoms once the drug is stopped or if a dose is missed. Kidney problems may also occur.

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