Hydromorphone belongs to a class of drugs called “opioids,” which includes morphine. It has an analgesic potency of two to eight times greater than that of morphine and has a rapid onset of action.
Hydromorphone is legally manufactured and distributed in the United States. However, users can obtain hydromorphone from forged prescriptions, “doctorshopping,” theft from pharmacies, and from friends and acquaintances.
- D, Dillies, Dust, Footballs, Juice, and Smack
- Tablets, capsules, oral solutions, and injectable formulations
Methods of abuse
Users may abuse hydromorphone tablets by ingesting them. Injectable solutions, as well as tablets that have been crushed and dissolved in a solution may be injected as a substitute for heroin.
When used as a drug of abuse, and not under a doctor’s supervision, hydromorphone is taken to produce feelings of euphoria, relaxation, sedation, and reduced anxiety. It may also cause mental clouding, changes in mood, nervousness, and restlessness. It works centrally (in the brain) to reduce pain and suppress cough. Hydromorphone use is associated with both physiological and psychological dependence.
- Constipation, pupillary constriction, urinary retention, nausea, vomiting, respiratory depression, dizziness, impaired coordination, loss of appetite, rash, slow or rapid heartbeat, and changes in blood pressure
- Severe respiratory depression, drowsiness progressing to stupor or coma, lack of skeletal muscle tone, cold and clammy skin, constricted pupils, and reduction in blood pressure and heart rate
Severe overdose may result in death due to respiratory depression.
Drugs with similar effects
- Heroin, morphine, hydrocodone, fentanyl, and oxycodone
Legal status in the United States
Hydromorphone is a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act with an accepted medical use as a pain reliever. Hydromorphone has a high potential for abuse and use may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.