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24 hours rehab
Immediate Access for help and advice
24 hours rehab

Call Now for Immediate Confidential Help and Advice 02038 115 619

24 hours rehab
Immediate Access for help and advice

Norco Addiction Explained

The generic name of Norco is acetaminophen and hydrocodone. Brand names include Xodol and Lorcet. Hydrocodone is an opioid used for pain medication. Acetaminophen is a mild pain reliever that increases the effects of hydrocodone.

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What Is Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Norco)?

Norco (hydrocodone) is a mix of the narcotic hydrocodone and acetaminophen, which is a mild pain reliever. It is used for the treatment of moderate to severely moderate pain. It may also be used as a cough suppressant.
Norco can cause many side effects. Some of them include blurred vision, anxiety, ringing in the ears, moodiness, depression, dry mouth, dizziness, abnormal heartbeats and stomach upsets. Hydrocodone blocks the nerve cell receptors in the brain that are responsible for pain.

When taking the drug, patients should always stick to the doctor’s prescription. It should not be taken in higher dosages or longer than prescribed.

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Different Forms of Norco

Norco is available in both liquid and solid form. It is ingested through the mouth or by injection. When administered in liquid form, the risk of overdose is high. Patients should use a medication measuring device rather than a household spoon to get the right dosage.

Some Norco abusers crush the tablets into powder form and inhale or snort it. Snorting is one of the most common methods of administration in rural areas.

Shooting the drug, in whatever form, may be a gateway to heroin abuse. Over 20% of those who abuse opioids abuse heroin later in life. They also have a high risk of alcoholism.

Norco brand and other names

Norco has many brand names in different locations. Some of the most common ones include;

  • Vicodin
  • Lortab
  • Lorcet
  • Lorcet Plus
  • Vicodin HP
  • Anexsia
  • Tussionex

Street names include:

  • Hydro
  • Bananas
  • Watsons
  • 357s
  • Fluff
  • Vikes
  • Tabs
  • Vics
  • Dro

The drug is commonly used in combination with other drugs and analgesics. It can be found in prescription medication such as syrups, tablets and capsules.

When taken in high dosages, it may lead to an overdose and substance dependence. The drug should only be taken in the right dosage for the right period.

Medical Uses

This medication is used for pain relief. It is mostly prescribed for mild or moderately severe pain. It has an opioid pain reliever (hydrocodone) and a non-opioid one (acetaminophen).

It affects the way the body receives and responds to pain. The drug may also be helpful in treating a fever.
The drug is not recommended for children age 6 or younger. It may cause serious side effects. Some of the worst include shallow or slow breathing, depression and abnormal heart rate.

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For best results, it should be taken as soon as a patient notices signs of pain. Patients should not wait until the pain has worsened as the medication may not work well.

Legal Status (UK)

Hydrocodone is legal in the United Kingdom. Even though lots of people abuse it, it is one of the most prescribed pain drugs. It is prescribed as pain medication and a cough suppressant.
In the UK, hydrocodone is considered as Class A, drug which means that it is carefully controlled. Unfortunately, the drug is still abused widely in the United Kingdom.

The problem has become a major cause of concern for both health and administration officers in the United Kingdom.

The UK is expected to enforce stricter regulations to manage the problem. This means that the number of prescriptions will reduce.

Routes of Administration

The medication is typically administered by mouth. It may be taken with or without food. Patients who have nausea are advised to take it with food. Patients who struggle with nausea may ask their doctors for alternative ways to reduce it. The most common one is to lie down for an hour with minimal head movement.

It is possible to administer the medication in liquid form. In such cases, patients should measure it carefully to the prescribed dosage using a measuring device rather than a regular spoon.

Some people abuse Norco by snorting it. They crush the medication before inhaling it.

Pharmacological Actions of Norco

Hydrocodone is a semi-synthetic narcotic. Its actions are qualitatively similar to those of codeine.

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Most of the action involves the central nervous system. Even though its exact working mechanism is unclear, it works like other opiates. Its functionality depends on the presence of opiate receptors in the central nervous system.

Acetaminophen has actions that involve peripheral influences, but the exact mechanism is not clear. It inhibits prostaglandin synthetase.

When taken in small doses, acetaminophen has minimal effects on the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. If, however, it is taken in toxic doses, it may lead to circulatory failure and other complications.

Chemical formula – C18H21NO3

The molecular formula for hydrocodone is C18H21NO3. Its chemical names are hydrocodone, dihydrocodeinone, hydrocone and hydroconum. Its molecular weight is 299.4 g/mol.

It is a semi-synthetic, hydrogenated codeine derivative. It binds to the mu-opioid receptors in the central nervous system and activates them. Its effects may include cough suppression, euphoria and respiratory depression.

If used over a long period of time or in high dosages, it may lead to physical dependence. The Cytochrome P450 enzyme CYP2D6 converts hydrocodone to hydromorphone.

The moderately potent opioid is used in combination with acetaminophen to treat pain. When combined with antihistamines, it may be used as a cough suppressant.

Norco Addiction and How It Develops

Norco can be addictive if patients do not use it exactly as prescribed. Most patients who use Norco for pain relief are at risk of developing dependence to it. Some signs of addiction include losing interest in other activities, poor performance at work or home and becoming obsessed with taking the drug.

After prolonged use of hydrocodone, people may develop tolerance to the drug. They may take high dosages to continue feeling its effects. Ceasing to take the drug may lead to withdrawal symptoms such as chills, runny nose, vomiting and mood swings.

The symptoms may last up to seven days. The effects may last up to six hours and may range from mild to severe.

Risk Factors for Norco Addiction

There are many reasons why some people may be addicted to the psychoactive drug while others aren’t. Some of the risk factors include:

  • Age: Norco is recommended for use by people above the age of 6. Younger children are at a high risk of developing a dependence on the drug, among other serious side effects.
  • Ability to Recognise How Norco Makes You Feel: Patients who are unable to recognize the effect of Norco in their systems are a high risk of developing dependence. Those who have taken opioids in the past are likely to know how it makes them feel.
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For some patients, Norco has an effect that goes beyond pain relief. It may cause a feeling of being high or excited. Such patients may be tempted to take dosages that are higher than prescribed. They should speak to their doctors and get alternative medication. It is wise for all patients to be honest if they wish to avoid dependence.

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Some patients come from families with a history of drug addiction. They are more likely to get addicted to Norco than patients whose families have no history of addiction.

Before taking Norco or other opioids, it is important for patients to check their family history. Those who have a history of addiction should proceed with caution.


Being surrounded by peers who abuse Norco or other substances may increase the chances of developing a dependence on the drug.

Patients who use the drug following a doctor’s prescription should try to avoid a company that may lead them down the path of addiction. This is especially important for those with a history of addiction.


If a person is exposed to a society where drug abuse is common, they are likely to abuse it. Those who are not exposed to a lot of substance abuse are less likely to be affected.

Every society has an obligation to protect its members from the danger of addiction. Unfortunately, some of them are not successful.

Co-Occurring Disorders with Norco Addiction

Those who struggle with Norco addiction may also struggle with other disorders such as anxiety, depression, alcoholism and the abuse of other substances. Most people who seek help for their Norco addiction do not realise that they may be struggling with more than one disorder until they are diagnosed.

Getting the right care makes it possible to identify other disorders and treat them accordingly. Getting care from the right professionals after dual diagnosis is the first step towards a person’s recovery. If any of the disorders are not diagnosed and treated, they may lead to problems in the future.

Signs, Symptoms and Dangers of Norco Addiction

There are several signs pointing to Norco addiction. They include:

  • Inability to stop using Norco even when it is dangerous
  • Withdrawing from friends, families, and colleagues
  • Lying about use of the drug
  • Attempting to steal Norco that is prescribed for a different patient
  • Increased tolerance to the drug
  • Poor coordination
  • Inability to focus or concentrate
  • Increased or reduced appetite
  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Impaired judgment
  • Constricted pupils

Norco addiction causes several effects, such as:

  • Prolonged drowsiness
  • Extreme anxiety and paranoia
  • Inability to concentrate or focus on tasks
  • Mood swings
  • Nausea, vomiting and/or severe constipation
  • An obsession with the drug
  • Physical and psychological dependence
  • Itchiness
  • Slowed breathing
  • Stupor, or even coma
  • Flaccid muscle tone
  • Cold and clammy skin
  • Apnoea (interrupted breath)
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Death
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The Impact of Long-Term and Short-Term Norco Abuse on the Brain

The short-term effects of Norco abuse are pain relief and increased wellness. The drug modifies pain by interacting with a patient’s opioid receptors. It does not work to reduce the source of pain. Instead, it changes the patient’s perception of it.

Long-term abuse of Norco may have adverse effects on the brain. Hydrocodone may cause dose-related respiratory depression. It acts directly on the patient’s brain stem respiratory centre. It affects the part that controls the respiratory rhythm. This results in irregular breathing.

The side effects of Norco abuse include; drowsiness, dysphoria, fatigue and headache. Serious side effects include mental health problems and addiction.

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Norco Overdose Explained

Norco is available in hydrocodone content of 5-milligram, 7.5-milligram and 10-milligram tablets. Every pill has a limit of 35 milligrams of acetaminophen. The amount of Norco it takes to overdose depends on the metabolic factors of different patients.

These include weight, kidney health, opioid tolerance, age and liver health. Opioid-tolerant patients may not overdose with dosages that are slightly above average. Mixing Norco with alcohol or other drugs may increase a person’s chances of overdosing.

New patients should be monitored closely within the first 72 hours after initial administration. They may be at risk of severe respiratory depression. In case of overdose, patients should be treated quickly. Oxygen therapy is administered, along with other treatment procedures.

How to Treat Norco Withdrawal

People who are dependent on Norco experience withdrawal symptoms if they try to stop or limit their use. Some symptoms of withdrawal include dilated pupils, intense abdominal cramping, excessive sweating and fatigue.

The severity of Norco withdrawal varies depending on the extent of abuse and metabolic factors. Substitution medications may be used to treat withdrawal symptoms. This is the first step towards drug rehabilitation.

Some patients continue to use the medication indefinitely, while others use substitution therapy for detoxification. Medications used in the treatment of Norco withdrawal include methadone and buprenorphine. Most rehabs have tailored plans that make it possible to treat clients based on their specific needs.

Norco detox process

The detox process for Norco should be done by a professional in a monitored environment. Most facilities use medically assisted drug detox because it is one of the safest methods of detoxing.

It is comfortable and makes it easy to deal with the withdrawal symptoms. The detox process should be completed in a closely monitored environment. It should be done in a facility that offers round-the-clock monitoring, treatment for withdrawal symptoms and ongoing care.

Some patients choose to go cold turkey with their detox. This method may work, but it comes with some serious risks. Medical detox is much safer.

Norco Addiction Treatment Medications

Even though it may seem illogical, narcotic abuse is treated using narcotic-based medications. If a patient stops using Norco after developing substance dependence, they may start to experience withdrawal symptoms within 30 hours.

Norco addiction is a serious problem that must be treated by a professional until the patient recovers. For effective treatment, patients have to go through the following steps: detoxification, drug rehabilitation, IOP and aftercare.

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Most rehabs have both inpatient and outpatient programmes. Clients can choose between the programmes depending on their needs. For long-term addiction, treatment may be 90 days or longer. There are 30-day and 60-day programs as well.

Therapy for Norco Addiction

When seeking treatment for Norco addiction, clients may receive both physical and mental therapy. While physical therapy is important, it does not address the mental effects of the drug.

For a client to recover fully, they must go through therapy and counselling after completing their detox. Throughout rehab, clients are required to talk about their problem. Group therapy gives clients a chance to talk about their problems in the presence of others in the same situation.

Individual therapy gives them a chance to speak about issues in a private setting. Therapy sessions involve different activities depending on the reasons for abusing the drug.

Traditional 12-step programme

The traditional 12-step programme is great for clients who have completed their rehab programmes and are seeking support.

Having the chance to interact with others who are on the same journey gives clients the support they need for a full recovery. Clients get the chance to share their struggles, experiences and questions.

Motivational therapy

Motivational therapy is a counselling approach that may be used to treat drug addiction. The goal is to evoke internally motivated change.

Doctors who use this approach do not need to guide their clients through a step-by-step process of recovery. It involves an initial assessment session that is followed by at least two treatment sessions with a therapist.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioural therapy is a psycho-social method of treating substance addiction. It aims to help clients develop healthy coping strategies.

Most patients of Norco addiction use the drug to cope with various issues. With this method of intervention, they are equipped with the skills to challenge unhelpful thoughts and beliefs and nurture healthy ones.


Journaling is a good option for clients who are going through the recovery process. It gives them the chance to explore their emotions and identify their reasons for drug abuse.

It makes it possible to keep track of their emotions and recovery process. Being able to refer back to their pleasant experiences may encourage them to stay drug-free.

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Family therapy

Family therapy allows family members to get involved in the treatment process of a client. Family therapy makes it possible to address the role of the family in an individual’s life, to address specific issues and to help family members understand what they can do to improve the situation.

If you or your family member is looking for confidential and reliable treatment for Norco addiction, contact UKAT today.

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