Hydrocodone is a highly addictive opioid drug with a high potential for abuse and addiction.

As the most prescribed painkiller in America, hydrocodone continues to be a contributing factor in the American opioid epidemic. This generic opioid is used to manage pain and coughing, but can easily become addictive — even to those, it’s prescribed to.

If a person has been taking hydrocodone following surgery or to manage chronic pain or coughing, they may develop an opioid addiction. As hydrocodone attaches to the brain’s opioid receptors, a tolerance builds for the drug and a person can eventually become dependent on the drug’s euphoric high. Hydrocodone addiction can lead to fatal overdose, so it’s important to understand the risks associated with this drug.

Is Hydrocodone Addictive?

“Is hydrocodone addictive?” is one of the most common questions related to this substance. Hydrocodone is a highly addictive opioid drug with a high potential for abuse and addiction. If a person develops a dependence and then stops taking hydrocodone, the body typically experiences withdrawal symptoms. The next question to consider is, “What makes hydrocodone addictive?” Opioids produce calming, anti-depressive and euphoric effects, which often “hook” people on the drug. Due to the likelihood of hydrocodone addiction, it’s possible to become dependent on the drug while taking it for medical purposes with a legitimate prescription from a doctor.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration classifies hydrocodone as a Schedule II controlled substance. The five drug schedules are determined based on a drug’s medical uses and its potential for abuse. Although hydrocodone presents a high risk, it does have legitimate medical uses, so it’s a Schedule II drug.

Hydrocodone Addiction Statistics & Stories

Although it was first discovered in the 1920s, most scientists didn’t begin paying attention to the rate of hydrocodone addiction, overdose, and death surrounding hydrocodone until the 1960s. Since then, numerous reports have been published. Some significant hydrocodone abuse statistics include:

Hydrocodone has made headlines through the years as celebrities like Heath Ledger, Michael Jackson, and Brittany Murphy have been found dead after using the drug. Rock singer Courtney Love was famously arrested and charged for illegal possession of hydrocodone and other painkillers. Additionally, “Friends” star Matthew Perry checked himself into rehab for a hydrocodone addiction in 1997.

Getting hooked on the drug also extends past the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. Anyone can develop a hydrocodone addiction. While on the presidential campaign trail for her husband Sen. John McCain, Cindy McCain spoke to the nation about her former hydrocodone addiction involving Vicodin that started after two back surgeries.

Hydrocodone Treatment & Rehab Options

Hydrocodone treatment options vary from center to center throughout the country. Programs can be time-intensive or focused on a single aspect of recovery, ranging from local detox clinics or outpatient therapy to a full continuum of care at an accredited rehab facility. The kind of addiction treatment someone needs will depend entirely on a thorough evaluation from a medical professional. But regardless of the diagnosis, enrolling in a program that has progressive levels of care can be incredibly healing. Hydrocodone treatment at The Recovery Village is both comprehensive and evidence-based, including programs such as:

Our facilities are located across the country, in the states of FloridaOhioColoradoWashington, and more. No matter where you are, you can find healing from hydrocodone addiction at one of The Recovery Village centers.

If you or a loved one is addicted to hydrocodone, participating in a full continuum of care gives you a solid foundation for long-term sobriety. However, If this isn’t the kind of program you’re interested in, other hydrocodone treatment and rehab options are available. View resources by state and levels of care in your area.

Paying for Hydrocodone Treatment

While getting the care you need is important for your long-term health, hydrocodone addiction treatment is also a significant financial commitment. Before choosing to attend The Recovery Village or any other facility, it’s important to evaluate your finances to determine what you can afford. Contacting your insurance company is another first step in this process to see how much rehab is covered under your policy. At The Recovery Village, we know that understanding insurance coverage can be confusing, and we don’t want anyone to have to turn down treatment because of financial issues. This process can be made simple by speaking with one of our intake coordinators free of charge. Each of our representatives is well-versed in the nuances of insurance policies and can discuss your personal financial situation with full confidentiality. The Recovery Village can make it easy for you or a loved one to get the care needed for hydrocodone addiction — call today to discover how paying for rehab might be less stressful than you think.

Is hydrocodone addictive? Yes, but the good news is there are many options available to treat hydrocodone addiction. Contact The Recovery Village to learn more about getting help and treatment for hydrocodone addiction.

Related Topic: Signs, Symptoms & Side Effects of Hydrocodone Abuse

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Editor – Camille Renzoni
Cami Renzoni is a creative writer and editor for The Recovery Village. As an advocate for behavioral health, Cami is certified in mental health first aid and encourages people who face substance use disorders to ask for the help they deserve. Read more
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Medically Reviewed By – Christina Caplinger, RPh
Christina Caplinger is a licensed pharmacist in both Colorado and Idaho and is also a board-certified pharmacotherapy specialist. Read more


What is hydrocodone?

Hydrocodone is an opioid drug used for managing pain and suppressing coughs. A well-known, brand-name prescription opioid is Vicodin, which contains hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Hydrocodone is a semi-synthetic opioid because it’s a chemically manipulated form of the natural opiate codeine. A German pharmaceutical company developed hydrocodone in the 1920s in an effort to find an alternative to codeine that had less risk of toxicity. Later that decade, American scientists were also experimenting with hydrocodone as a replacement for highly addictive cough medicines that contained opioids. Hydrocodone was identified as the best alternative because it reduced pain and managing coughing.

Thirty years later, in 1961, the first reports on the likelihood of hydrocodone’s addictive properties were published. Despite the warnings, however, hydrocodone has continued to grow in popularity.

What does hydrocodone look like?

Hydrocodone is available in a tablet form and a drinkable liquid form. The drug is most commonly prescribed as a small, white, oval-shaped tablet. Each pill is inscribed with the number of milligrams of hydrocodone in the pill. Hydrocodone tablets can vary in dosage from 5 mg to 120 mg per pill. Two major pharmaceutical companies manufacture liquid hydrocodone: Pharmaceutical Associates Inc. and Par Pharmaceuticals. The medications are yellow and red, respectively.

What are some other names for hydrocodone?

Several pharmaceutical companies sell brand-name versions of hydrocodone. Examples of brand-name drugs that contain hydrocodone and acetaminophen include:

  • Vicodin
  • Norco
  • Xodol
  • Lortab
  • Zolvit
  • Lorcet
  • Panacet

Additionally, another opioid-containing drug is Vicoprofen, which is hydrocodone with ibuprofen.

Hydrocodone is also referred to by street names or slang terms, including:

  • Hydros
  • Tabs
  • Watsons
  • Vics
  • Vicos
  • Vikes
  • 357s
  • Lorris/Loris
  • Nirco
What is hydrocodone prescribed for?

Doctors prescribe hydrocodone to manage severe pain or suppress coughs. Patients who receive hydrocodone often have a persistent cough, chronic pain or may have recently undergone surgery. The drug has such a high potential for dependence that people who start with a medical need for the drug often become dependent on and addicted to it. As a result, to fuel addictions and avoid withdrawal symptoms, many prescriptions are continued longer than necessary.

Does insurance cover hydrocodone addiction treatment?

We believe recovery should be available to anyone in need of care, so we work directly with your insurance provider to find the best program for you. Many insurance policies will offer coverage options for drug rehab, and many insurance plans are accepted at The Recovery Village. We are more than happy to accept insurance to pay for hydrocodone addiction treatment, and our intake coordinators can help you determine what your insurance will and won’t cover. Speak to one of our representatives today to confirm the benefits your insurance offers for hydrocodone treatment.

If you’d rather not call an intake coordinator, you can verify your benefits online in just minutes.

I don't have insurance, are there alternative payment options?

If your insurance does not cover the cost of rehab, or you do not have health insurance, most treatment centers accept private pay to cover the expense of hydrocodone addiction treatment. Please contact our admissions office for more information on the cost of addiction treatment and detailed payment plans.

To learn more about insurance coverage, paying for rehab and more, The Recovery Village has several helpful guides, including:


Pietrangelo, Ann. “Prescriptions for Hydrocodone Have Dropped Since DEA Classification Change.”“>“Presc[…]on Change.” Healthline, February 2016. Accessed March 12, 2019.

Drug Enforcement Administration. “Hydrocodone.”“>“Hydrocodone.” Published in October 2018. Accessed March 2019.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.