Dilaudid or hydromorphone is a centrally-acting analgesic drug of the opioid class. Dilaudid is a semi-synthetic derivative of morphine and is used to treat moderate to severe pain and painful coughing. It is thought to be three or four times stronger than morphine, but with lower risk of dependency, so it is preferable in medical treatment.
Dilaudid can cause an intense feeling of euphoria and blocks pain like most opioids. This makes it appealing to abuse, and can create a habit that is psychological as well as physical. Users find the intense euphoria extremely pleasurable, and as with all things pleasurable are brains begin to crave that same stimulation. As users continue abuse, they begin building a tolerance as their brain is no longer as stimulated by the same amount of the substance as before; resulting in an increase of how much is ingested. As the user takes higher doses they become more physically dependent on the drug, and will require a certain amount to feel normal. No matter how high their tolerance is the body can only take a certain amount of the drug in its system, while for chronic users this may be higher there is always a limit. And for those who have built a tolerance and try to achieve that high they got from use in the beginning it is very easy to accidently overdose.
The hazards of hydromorphone use include respiratory depression, circulatory depression, dizziness, sedation, itching, and constipation, nausea, vomiting and sweating. Those who are opioid tolerant will be much less likely to suffer from an overdose unless taken with other substances such as alcohol or benzodiazepines. Side effects from using too much or the medication not agreeing with you can be temporarily debilitating. These serious side effects include shallow breathing, slow heartbeat, seizure, cold, clammy skin, confusion, severe weakness and fainting.
Another side-effect of hydromorphone is a very powerful feeling of euphoria which can lead to addiction. And when prescribed for pain relief, opioids are often misused. Abusing hydromorphone, even as medically suggested, can result in dependence, and users forced to quit ‘cold turkey’ suffer from withdrawal symptoms which are more severe than morphine withdrawal. Physical symptoms include shaking, cold sweats, diarrhea, vomiting, muscle pain, body cramps and insomnia. Users are often prescribed the drug as part of treatment for pain and find they still require the medication after the symptoms being treated are gone. They can no longer get a prescription from the doctor who originally treated them and they begin to ‘doctor shop’ faking symptoms to get new prescriptions. If this fails many turn to illegal distributors on the street, prescription pills like Dilaudid can very expensive on the street and can around fifty dollars a pill. As a result users may turn to the cheaper street drug, Heroin.
Hydromorpone is also stronger than Heroin by dosage; making it one the strongest pain killers out there. Dependence is generally developed after two to three weeks of prolonged use, it requires longer to develop physical dependency, but the results are the same as Heroin or Morphine addiction. Users who go for too long without it will start to withdraw unless they take more, which results in intense drug cravings; this is similar to Heroin addicts getting ‘dopesick’.