It’s often cited as the most powerful and dangerous of all prescription painkillers, and it’s a drug that continues to claim countless lives every year. The drug is called Dilaudid. Although it’s not often mentioned when we talk about dangerous opioids, Dilaudid is certainly a substance about which we should be knowledgeable. In particular, we should be aware of what Dilaudid is, its effects, and what it is about Dilaudid that makes it such a dangerous drug.
What is Dilaudid?
Out of the many different drugs in the opioid class, Dilaudid has been identified as one of the most powerful and, therefore, dangerous. It’s for this very reason that Dilaudid addiction is known to be quite quick to develop, particularly when the drug is used with a level of regularity. According to studies, the average amount of time it takes for someone to develop a tolerance to Dilaudid is just two to three weeks; once that tolerance develops, the individual often begins taking more of the pills with increasing frequency, causing him or her to finish their prescriptions ahead of schedule and sometimes resulting in the individual turning to the street to supplement his or her supply.
According to the drug’s official qualifications, Dilaudid (and hydromorphone in general) is classified as a schedule II controlled substance that’s prescribed for moderate to severe pain. As mentioned above, hydromorphone is so effective for treating pain because it bonds readily to the receptors found in the brain and throughout the central nervous system, which is how the drug dulls the pain individuals feel from injuries, surgical procedures, or physical health conditions. Meanwhile, the hydromorphone impacts the pleasure and reward centers of the brain, which is why those who abuse Dilaudid experience feelings of pleasure, euphoria, intoxication, and an overall sense of well-being.
More often than not, physicians and healthcare providers prescribe Dilaudid and other forms of hydromorphone for pain related to serious injuries (i.e., burns or broken bones) as well as for cancer. Upon taking the drug, an individual tends to feel the effects of Dilaudid within 15 minutes, which is a relatively rapid onset of effects for a drug taken orally; however, individuals who abuse the drug often use different routes of administration, including insufflation (inhaling through the nose) and intravenous injection. Once the effects set in, they typically last for an average of six hours. When the drug is administered more directly (i.e., via insufflation or intravenous injection), the effects set in much more rapidly, are usually more intense, but last for a shorter period of time.
Due to its addictive potential and the intensity of its effects, prescribers tend to only provide Dilaudid tablets in smaller doses such as in 2 to 4 milligram amounts. However, the drug can also be found in the form as an oral liquid, but this is typically used only in hospital settings. It’s not uncommon for doctors to administer the drug intravenously, too, but this is typically only done when the patient is experiencing severe pain after an injury or medical procedure.
On the street, Dilaudids are one of the most desirable of all prescription drugs, but due to its intensity, it also happens to be one of the most difficult for substance abusers to find. One of its most common street names is “D’s”, but it’s also sometimes called “Big D” or “Peaches” due to the drug sometimes being found in the form of a peach-colored capsule.
Why Dilaudid is so Dangerous
Understandably, the main reason why Dilaudid is so dangerous is because it’s one of the most powerful of all opioid substances. Even at the small dosage sizes in which it’s usually available, Dilaudid is incredibly powerful, producing intense intoxicating effects in individuals who abuse it. For this reason, it’s incredibly easy for individuals to overcome on Dilaudid; in fact, even individuals taking Dilaudid as prescribed are at risk of overdose due to the many drugs with which hydromorphone is known to have interactions.
When a user takes more Dilaudid than the advised amount, he or she may exhibit some of the effects that are associated with Dilaudid overdose. Some of the most alarming of these effects include respiratory depression (difficulty breathing), a sudden and significant decrease in blood pressure and heart rate, and possible even the sudden ceasing of one’s heartbeat. As well, these effects can happen quickly with very little time for the user to react, which is why there’s such a high potential for overdose with Dilaudid.
As mentioned above, Dilaudid (and hydromorphone in general) has an extremely high rate of having negative interactions with other substances. Often underestimating the drug’s power due to the small dosages in which it comes, some users will take Dilaudid alongside other substances, particularly other opioids or alcohol or benzodiazepines, which can cause a fatal interaction. In short, the Dilaudid amplifies the effects of the other substance, which also amplifies the effects of the Dilaudid. It’s a recipe for disaster and has claimed countless lives. For this reason, most prescribing physicians and healthcare providers are hesitant to prescribe hydromorphone. In fact, it’s a rarity for an individual to receive a prescription for Dilaudid if he or she is prescribed other medications, particularly if any of those medications are depressants or depressant-like.
Overcoming Dilaudid Addiction at Malvern Institute
Without question, Dilaudid is one of the most dangerous of all the mind-altering substances abused today. For this reason, Malvern Institute offers a comprehensive program for Dilaudid addiction recovery. The Malvern Model of Care guides patients through our entire continuum of care, beginning with Dilaudid detoxification before proceeding through induction, inpatient care, and concluding with outpatient treatment. Our graduated program is designed to provide individuals overcoming Dilaudid addiction with the resources they need at each respective stage in the process.
If you would like to learn more about Dilaudid addiction treatment at Malvern Institute, or for answers to any other questions you may have, please call us anytime at 610.MALVERN (610.625.8376).