opiate drugsWhat do you think are the most addictive opiate drugs? Before anything else, we all think of heroin. Well, okay—that may be a given. But what about addictive opiate drugs that you can obtain as a prescription? Take a look at this list and see if you can identify the common denominator among them.

What Are the Top 3 Most Addictive Opiate Drugs?

Codeine. Before we all heard about hydrocodone and oxycodone, there was a powerful and oft-abused drug called codeine. It has been used in prescription medications dispensed to treat coughs, diarrhea, and pain. Marketed in many formats over the years, dentists utilized it on patients undergoing extractions, and carnival hustlers sold countless bottles of this medication used to cure whatever ailed you. If you’ve read a novel in which faint-hearted ladies took their laudanum, they were taking cocaine. It dates all the way back to 1832. If a person suddenly stops using it, they can expect cravings, weakness, both stomach and muscle cramps, itchiness, runny nose and eyes, muscle spasms, irritability, and—yes, more pain.

Today codeine lives in the shadows of its two more powerful cousins, hydrocodone and oxycodone. But there are still many people who just couldn’t make it through the day if they didn’t have their acetaminophen-with-codeine.

Hydrocodone. This medication is dispensed in a pill that will cure whatever ails you. If it doesn’t cure you, you won’t care. You will recognize this medication by its many brand-name formulations: Most people know it as Vicodin, which also contains acetaminophen. Other acetaminophen-hydrocodone combinations include Lorcet, Hycotuss, Dolacet, Entuss (which also contains guaifenesin), Hycodan, Lortab, Norco, and many, many more.

If you have abused this drug, you have probably experienced nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, dizziness, itching, mood changes, constipation, and varying degrees of anxiety. If you take a form of hydrocodone associated with acetaminophen long-term, you can also expect liver deterioration and issues. Other people have reported hearing loss over extended abuse of hydrocodone, which is undeniably one of the most addictive drugs. And, if you have chanced abusing hydrocodone during the early months of pregnancy, then you risk birth defects developing in your unborn child.

Oxycodone. This medication, one of the most addictive opiate drugs, is a cousin to the other two. People fail to realize that the danger it offers is greater, like the mermaid singing out to sailors from the bottom of the ocean. Its only purpose is for pain relief. It came upon the market in the early 1900s, most notably in combination with the anti-nausea medication scopolamine and early formulations of ephedrine used to maintain blood pressure during anesthesia.

In 1995, it became available on the American market. Pharmaceutical companies spent a great deal of money convincing doctors that it was not addictive. Its best-known formulations include either acetaminophen or aspirin. They include Percocet (acetaminophen) or Percodan (aspirin), Endocet, Roxicodone, and—of course—OxyContin.

What Do These Three Most Addictive Opiate Drugs Have in Common?

If you’ve ever watched the classic 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, you’ve seen Dorothy and her beloved friends traipsing through a field of poppies sent by the Wicked Witch to trap them. Luckily Glenda saves them and they all make it to the Emerald City. If you’re wondering what those 3 most addictive opiate drugs have in common, it’s that they all originate from poppies.

Codeine actually occurs naturally in the pod of the poppy plant, constituting about 2 percent of the opium in the plant. Hydrocodone occurs as an alkaloid found in the poppy plant. And oxycodone slithers into today’s medicine cabinet as another opiate alkaloid, this time found in a compound called thebaine. But they all owe their existence to that beautiful, deadly poppy plant.

Other Dangerous Opiate Drugs

Demerol also has its roots in the opiate library, but only as a formulated medication. However, it’s been around long enough so that it’s usually administered with extreme caution and mostly in the confines of a hospital or outpatient surgical center. Not many people go home with a prescription for Demerol these days except in extreme cases, such as amputations.

Ultram is another dangerous drug, triply dangerous because most people fail to recognize it as a narcotic analgesic. Many family doctors prescribe it when they recognize that a patient is in danger of succumbing to opiate addiction, but they fail to realize that tramadol, its generic formulation, is in fact a synthetic opiate. Besides the usual withdrawal symptoms, it also carries the risk of seizures as well as the potential for reaction with certain antidepressants.

Darvocet is yet another of the old-time drugs that your grandpappy took for either cough or pain, but it has thankfully been removed from most major markets, including here in the U.S. It was removed because it caused heart arrhythmias. It was also known for causing overdoses, but then again, so do the others.

Do you need help in overcoming your addiction to any of these most addictive opiate drugs? Stopping your use of any of them is no easy feat. You need to contact your local methadone addiction treatment program to find out how and when you can get started on a recovery plan that will put your life right again.