Chronic Pain — 11 December 2013

By Pat Anson, Editor

Oxycodone and hydrocodone are the “drugs of choice” for abusers of opioid pain medication, according to a new survey of thousands of opioid addicts entering drug treatment programs across the United States.

While the results are not altogether surprising because oxycodone and hydrocodone are the two most commonly prescribed painkillers, the survey results do provide some insights into why abusers prefer them.

Oxycodone, for example, is preferred for the quality of the high it gives. It is also more likely to be tampered with – inhaled or injected – by a drug abuser.

Hydrocodone is less popular because it has a lesser euphoric effect. But it is also cheaper and easier to obtain because it is so widely prescribed.

“The data show that hydrocodone is popular because it is relatively inexpensive, easily accessible through physicians, friends, and families, and is perceived as relatively safe to use, particularly by risk-averse users. This group includes generally risk-averse women, elderly people, non-injectors, and those who prefer safer modes of acquisition than dealers, such as doctors, friends, or family members,” says Theodore Cicero, PhD, of the Department of Psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis.

“In contrast, we found that oxycodone is much more attractive to risk-tolerant young male users who prefer to inject or snort their drugs to get high and are willing to use riskier forms of diversion despite paying twice as much for oxycodone than hydrocodone.”

Read more at National Pain Report.

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About Author

Pat Anson, Editor

Pat is Editor in Chief of American News Report. He is a veteran journalist and a former correspondent and producer for HealthWeek (PBS), Nightly Business Report (PBS) and other nationally syndicated shows. Pat has won numerous journalism awards, including a Golden Mike award for investigative reporting.

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