Dilaudid is the trade name for a compound hydromorphone hydrochloride and is a very powerful synthetic opioid narcotic painkiller considered to be 6 to 9 times stronger than morphine. In fact, Dilaudid is often used as an alternative to morphine. Dilaudid takes effect within 15 minutes upon introduction to the body and lasts for longer than six hours.
Dilaudid, a Schedule II narcotic, is commonly used to manage moderate to severe pain for individuals suffering from burns, cancer, bone or soft tissue injuries, and other extremely painful conditions. Dilaudid attaches to receptors in the brain, central nervous system, and GI tract in order to dull the pain as it reacts to the pleasure center of the brain providing the user with euphoric feelings. It is this feeling of euphoria that causes many individuals originally prescribed Dilaudid for a legitimate condition to develop both a physical and psychological addiction to the narcotic. Individuals without a prior history of opiate addiction have been known to develop both tolerance and dependence upon Dilaudid in as little as three weeks.
Individuals who develop a tolerance to Dilaudid will find that they need higher and higher doses of the narcotic to achieve the same effects. Once tolerance has set in, many individuals will find it nearly impossible to stop using the drug without experiencing effects of withdrawal, which can be incredibly unpleasant. Once an individual has been cut off from his or her prescription for Dilaudid, he or she may attempt to purchase Dilaudid on the streets. On the streets, hydromorphone is called, “Big D,” “M-80’s,” and “Peaches.”
Most individuals use Dilaudid in injectable IV form rather than pill form, as pills are not as effective in producing the euphoric effects. IV injection of any drug – narcotic or not – carries significant risks for side effects such as vein collapse, bloodborne infections, and infections at the injection site. Many who abuse Dilaudid will augment the high they achieve from the narcotic by mixing it with other downers, such as benzodiazepines or alcohol. This can lead to serious respiratory depression and possible death. Prolonged Dilaudid addiction can also cause circulatory depression and cardiac arrest.
Many people who struggle with addiction to Dilaudid also struggle from undiagnosed or undertreated mental illnesses. Some of the disorders that occur with Dilaudid addiction include:
- Depressive disorders
- Anxiety disorders
- Bipolar disorder
- Other substance abuse disorders