Norco Abuse And Addiction Dangers

Last Updated: October 26, 2020

Authored by Nena Messina, Ph.D.

The use of Norco pain medication has become quite recurrent, mainly because of the functions of the medication and its application in chronic pain. Norco pain medicine has been used for years to treat different forms of pain. The drug is often prescribed due to its efficacy; however, many users develop an addiction to the drug and find themselves needing the medication for normal bodily functions.

Addiction to the Norco painkiller is rampant. Despite the efforts of drug agencies to defeat the use of this medication by changing its classification in 2014 from a schedule III to schedule II substance, the frequency and figure of addiction cases are still quite high. The remedy is not obtainable over the counter. This is also a measure that has been put in place to combat addiction and abuse of the drug. Abusers often find other means to secure Norco pain killers even though regulatory bodies have been put in place to manage the distribution of the medication to mitigate abuse and further cases of addiction.

Let’s take a look at the medication in question. What is Norco, and what are its functions?

What Is Norco?

The use of Norco pain pills has its ups and downsides, hence the need to understand the composition of the drug before choosing this drug as a treatment regimen. What is Norco? What does the drug do? These recurring questions are quickly answered by the apparent effects of the drug when ingested.

Norco is classified as an opioid. The legally manufactured synthetic drug is similar to Lortab and Vicodin. The Lortab vs. Norco comparison is often made, as both medications are equally potent for pain relief.

What is in Norco? The medication contains two significant components; acetaminophen (which is the active ingredient in the drug Tylenol) and Hydrocodone, a well-known opioid commonly used for extreme pains. The drug Acetaminophen is also a painkiller but a less potent one. The acetaminophen augments the effects of the opioid in the combination.

The narcotic comes in two strengths levels. The hydrocodone compositions for the two strength levels are 5mg, 7.5mg, and 10mg while the Acetaminophen comes in one stable structure as 325mg. Norco medication used to have the lowest amount of acetaminophen. After the review by the Federal Drug Agency, the drug now has one of the highest amounts of acetaminophen (325mg), only next to Vicodin, which contains 300mg. Norco 5/325 is one of the most prescribed strengths for the medication.

addicted woman takes norco

Norco Abuse And Addiction Statistics

The Norco pill is a synthetic opioid and has contributed to large numbers of addiction and possible death. Research has shown that in 2016, synthetic opioids were mostly responsible for overdose death cases in the US.

The CBS News reported a case study where prescription painkillers such as Norco medicine and other derivatives were responsible for a large number of deaths in the United States. The pill was accountable for more than 15,000 deaths in 2008.

Norco Addiction Symptoms

Many users of Norco are unable to quit using the drug due to its additive effect. The hydrocodone composition of the medication is usually the culprit for the dependency on the pill. The Norco high, however, can be quite pleasurable for addicts, making it difficult to quit.

Some abusers even go as far as mixing Norco and alcohol for a more elevated euphoria. The Norco mechanism of action affects the central nervous system through opiate receptors. The exact mechanism is unknown; however, this often builds into dependencies. Here are the signs and symptoms of addiction to Norco med:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting and constipation
  • Drug obsession
  • Extended drowsiness
  • High irritability and mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Euphoria
  • Flushed skin
  • Seizures
  • Dry mouth
  • Lack of focus
  • Spending time and money to procure the drug
  • Doctor-hopping for a fix
  • Increasing dosage to achieve satisfaction

Norco withdrawal timeline differs from one user to the other, depending on the severity of the addiction. Sometimes it could be just hours after the last dose. The Norco schedule makes the drug highly addictive. Hence, the drug should only be recommended by a medical professional. Norco nursing implications are extensive and may come with underlying health issues which necessitate the aid of medical healthcare professional.

capsules in yellow container

Causes And Risk Factors Of Norco Addiction

Misuse of the drug causes addiction to painkillers. Norco pain pill is prescribed for severe pain by a doctor, but the medication doesn’t just manage pain; it also creates a feeling of euphoria, which leads more and more people to indulge in unsafe use of this drug.

During addiction to Norco tablets, people take the drug to get high. Gradually, one begins to build a tolerance for the drug, and more doses are required to achieve the same level of highness. One begins to crave the medication excessively and would experience withdrawal symptoms without the Norco painkiller.

Apart from Norco acetaminophen misuse, there are other ways one can be exposed to addiction; this includes:

History of drug addiction

Once a member of the family has had a drug or alcohol problem, the odds of passing down the inherited gene is almost inevitable. There is numerous research on addiction and the influence of genes and the environment on possibilities of addiction. A family history of addiction to opioids creates a potential for drug misuse.

Access to prescription medication

Many people hop from one doctor to the other to get pain relievers on prescription. The prescription enables one to get ample supply of the drug. This unregulated acquisition of medication most often leads to addiction.

pharmacist holding a blister

An underlying mental illness

Aside from physical pain, some individuals who suffer from anxiety, insomnia, PTSD, depression, and other mental disorders may discover that the medication provides relief and blocks out these mental and emotional distresses. This may lead the individual to continue taking this drug without prescription until addiction develops.

Age group

The Norco pills street price may also be affordable for the young ones to purchase, making it easy for them to get access to these drugs.

People often use the medication in extremely harmful ways, such as Norco breastfeeding, which is both detrimental to mother and child. The medication can be detected in tests such as Norco drug testing, and one should seek the advice of a medical professional before using this medication or switching from this medication to any other painkiller.

How Is Norco Addiction Treated?

The most effective solution for addiction to medication is drug rehab. One can conveniently find the best drug rehab nearby by searching online or seeking recommendations from a medical professional. Drug rehabs provide specialized treatments for addicts of all age, gender, social status, and others. The facility provides detoxification, cognitive behavioral therapy, 12-step programs, and inpatient and outpatient programs. Each treatment technique is tailored to the patient to enable quick healing. It is imperative that one seeks medical attention in a facility rather than try to quit drug abuse on one’s own. This may lead to relapse and more complex health issues.

Page Sources

  1. The US Food and Drug Administration. Norco. 2014.
  2. DailyMed. NORCO- hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen tablet. 2018.
  3. Fentanyl and Other Synthetic Opioids Drug Overdose Deaths. National Institute on Drug Abuse.
  4. Painkiller 10 times stronger than Vicodin worries addiction experts. CBS News. First published on May 1, 2012.
  5. L Bevilacqua and D Goldman. Genes and Addictions. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2009 Apr; 85(4): 359–361.
  6. Real Teens Ask: Is Addiction Hereditary? National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens.

Published on: October 28th, 2015

Updated on: October 26th, 2020

About Author

Nena Messina, Ph.D.

Nena Messina is a specialist in drug-related domestic violence. She devoted her life to the study of the connection between crime, mental health, and substance abuse. Apart from her work as management at addiction center, Nena regularly takes part in the educational program as a lecturer.


Leave a comment

  • Ronald Copeland
    This has been very, very beneficial for me!!! Y Thank you very much and God bless!!!!
  • Vidyasri
    Hii… I stuck in a problem.. I was blamed for something that I haven’t done Now I want to prove myself by taking norco test But does doctors take this test This is not to produce as a evidence in the court