Does hydrocodone get you high?

Yes, hydrocodone can get you high. So, if you take hydrocodone to get high, will you get addicted? More on hydrocodone, euphoria and the risk of hydrocodone addiction here.

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Yes. You can get high on hydrocodone.

Here, we will review why hydrocodone makes you feel high, and if you’re at risk of getting addicted to hydrocodone or not. Read on to assess your hydrocodone addiction liability here.

Hydrocodone chemistry and use

Hydrocodone is a synthetic drug that activates the same receptors in the brain as opium, heroin or codeine.  It is a very strong drug and when you stop taking hydrocodone (even after a few weeks), hydrocodone withdrawal syndrome may occur as your body gets back to normal.  Hydrocodone is called an opioid because although it is made in the laboratory, hydrocodone has a chemical structure that is similar to codeine and morphine. Hydrocodone is never prescribed alone, but is formulated in combination products available as tablets, capsules, and syrups. Although hydrocodone is most frequently prescribed to treat moderately severe pain, it can also be used as an antitussive, or cough suppressant.

Hydrocodone and euphoria

Hydrocodone, like most other opioids, induces euphoria, an extreme sense of well-being. Why is this? Hydrocodone binds to specific receptors in the brain. Although opioid drugs like hydrocodone are used primarily to treat pain, some of the central nervous systems processes that reduce pain perception also produce a state of well-being. So when hydrocodone causes the neurotransmitters which control movement, moods, and physiology to fire at high rates (as high as they would fire in times of extreme stress) the body and mind experience both pain relief and an uplift in mood SIMULTANEOUSLY. In fact, because hydrocodone is considered to be “morphine-like” in every aspect, it is easy to see why use and abuse of hydrocodone is possible.

When do people get addicted to hydrocodone?

Hydrocodone is easy to get by prescription and it is perceived to be safe. But the truth is that hydrocodone is highly addictive. How addictive is hydrocodone?  Extremely. This is why hydrocodone is a Schedeule II drug on the DEA’s classification of drug list.

When you take hydrocodone, the profound effect on mood is activated and centered in the brain’s reward and pleasure circuits. If you continue taking hydrocodone. the way in which the nerve cells communicate is changed after time. You might not even be able to control whether or not you take hydrocodone. You will start to NEED hydrocodone to function. This is addiction. But when do people get addicted to hydrocodone? And when does hydrocodone use start to influence behavior, motivation, and emotions?

Risks of hydrocodone addiction

First, if you are using hydrocodone JUST to get high, you are truly at risk of becoming addicted to it. Second, there is a distinction between addiction and dependency. You can be dependent on hydrocodone (develop tolerance and go through withdrawal when you don’t have it) without being addicted to it. Addiction is generally characterized by psychological needs such as lack of control of drug use, compulsive use, continued use despite harm, and craving. But people who are dependent on hydrocodone can withdraw from it and not take it again. Risk factors that increase hydrocodone addiction potential include:

  • non-medical use of hydrocodone (using hydrocodone to get high)
  • administering hydrocodone in non-medical ways (snort, inject, crush)
  • taking higher doses of hydrocodone than prescribed
  • taking hydrocodone more frequently than prescribed
  • taking hydrocodone without a prescription

The fact is that hydrocodone is the most frequently prescribed opioid in the U.S. and is associated with more drug abuse and diversion than any other opioid prescription drug. Although you might have a positive reaction to hydrocodone, addiction usually doesn’t happen the first time you use it. But if you continue to take hydrocodone to get high, you are at risk of getting addicted.

Hydrocodone questions and answers

Detection of hydrocodone in your system can affect your work or school life.  Hydrocodone drug test times are usually advised at least 24 hours after your last dose of hydrocodone, although it is safer to wait 2-4 days before taking a hydrocodone drug test.  We hope we answered your question about hydrocodone thoroughly here. But if you have other questions about hydrocodone use, please let us know. we can respond on email, in a comment or write a new article. Please send us your feedback and let us know that you are out there!

Reference sources: DEA Drug Fact Sheets
Neuropharmacology of Opioids
Daily Med drug info on hydrocodone
Knowledge Workbook II Addiction Medication Unit New York State OASAS
“Opiates on the brain”


About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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