Hydrocodone is an effective prescription for people dealing with severe pain - but the powerful drug is also one of the most widely abused drugs in the world. it is highly addictive
The Director of Crouse Hospital's chemical dependency unit says they treat 500 people a day and director Otto Feliu says there is waiting list of another 300 people that need help. In addition to treating the chemical addiction, physicians also deal with the emotional addiction.
"There's an emotional connection. an emotional one where the individual is going to say, well I feel better," said Feliu. "And now the relationship between the drug, the individual and the reason they were prescribed all gets very confusing."
Hydrocone and other pills in medicine cabinets around the country are now causing more deaths than illegal street drugs.
"We have double the deaths nationally from prescription drug abuse than we have from heroin and crack cocaine," said New York Senator Charles Schumer.
This year New York State elevated Hydrocodone to a Schedule 2 drug classification. Schedule 2 puts a prescription drug under much higher scrutiny and doctors have to write out a specific prescription for every refill. Now Schumer wants Hydrocodone to been nationally classified as a Schedule 2 drug. Schumer says many hydrocodone users start on a prescription but wind up moving on to other drugs if they become addicted.
"Hydrocodone abusers often turn to heroin for a less expensive high that is no less lethal. because prescription drugs have become so expensive - heroin is actually cheaper," said Schumer.