Vicodin – the Biggest Gateway Drug of Today’s Youth

Vicodin is a prescription medication that is often viewed as “safe” because it’s a medication prescribed by a doctor. Sadly, Vicodin has become “the biggest gateway drug of today’s youth,” says Art Coburn – author of this post.

The following is a guest post by Art Coburn, founder of Art is a recovering addict who writes for Drug Addiction Therapy Guy. Art’s goal is to “help others and let them know that they too can get clean and sober.” He can be reached at

Vicodin – the Biggest Gateway Drug of Today’s Youth by Art Coburn

Studies reveal that Vicodin and oxycontin are amongst the biggest gate way drugs of are youths today. Vicodin is a prescription medication that contains hydrocodone and acetaminophen.

It is not manufactured in illegal laboratories, but diverted from prescriptions.  Easy access to this drug makes it a gateway drug for teens in fact.  The following five steps can help parents of teens suffering a Vicodin addiction.

Look for Signs of Drug Abuse

While the teen years are often tumultuous, adding an addiction to the mix can make the years even more difficult.  Parents should be alert to severe mood swings that go beyond normal teen hormonal changes.  The teen may experience euphoria when on the drug but be severely depressed when withdrawing.  Teen drug use is often signaled by a change in friends.  Long term friends who do not consider drug use acceptable are dropped and new friendships developed where drug use is acceptable.

Look for Missing Money and Prescription Medication 

While adults suffering an addiction to this medication often get more of the pills by jumping from one doctor to another, teens obtain the drug a few pills at a time from a parent’s, grandparent’s or friends medicine cabinet, hoping their theft of the drug goes undetected.  If the teen feels a parent or other adult may suspect missing pills, he or she may start to pilfer money from a parent’s wallet in order to buy more of the medication to support his or her addiction.

Talk With Your Child About Drug Use

Vicodin like any other drug addiction can take over a person’s life quickly.  While your teen may have started using Vicodin for many reasons, once addicted, he or she may have difficulty stopping drug use.  While the teen may deny use at first, it is important to keep the lines of communication as open as possible.  The teen needs to know the parent is concerned and willing to find help when needed.

Talk With Your Child’s School Counselor About Your Suspicions

School counselors are trained professionals who deal with this type of situation on a daily basis.  If you suspect your child is using drugs, seek their help.  The counselor can look at the student grades and attendance to see if there is a pattern that might help to confirm one’s suspicions.  In addition, he or she can provide resources for further help.

Have Your Child Tested for Drugs

If your teen continues to exhibit signs of abusing opiates, but does not admit a problem, take him or her for drug testing.  Vicodin will continue to show up in the urine for two to four days after use.  If the test is positive for drug use, it is important to have the teen admitted to a teen addiction treatment program.   Look for a local program that is specifically designed for teens.  Such programs address issues such as peer pressure to use the drug again and teach teens better ways to react when faced with a choice to use Vicodin again.

Key Takeaways

1.  Vicodin is one of the largest gateway drugs to today’s teen because it is easily available.  This drug is often prescribed for many different injuries, aches and pains.  Parents and grandparents of teens should not keep hydrocodone containing medications in the bathroom medicine cabinet, but locked away to make it less available to teens.

2.  There are many signs of teen drug use, but sometimes they are hard to distinguish from normal teen behavior.  The child’s school counselor is an important resource for parents.  The best way to know if a problem exists is to spend time talking with your child.

3.  If the teen has a Vicodin a problem or an addiction, he or she should be enrolled in a teen treatment program where they can go through hydrocodone withdrawal safely.  If the child is under age 18, the parents can admit the child to a drug rehab program, but will lose this privilege on the 18th birthday.  Early intervention is essential to prevent long term effects of addiction.


Vicodin - the Biggest Gateway Drug of Today's Youth

Art Coburn, founder of Heroin Addiction Help Guide, explains why Vicodin is today’s biggest gateway drug for youth.



Art Coburn is a recovering addict and writes for Drug Addiction Therapy Guy.

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3 Responses to Vicodin – the Biggest Gateway Drug of Today’s Youth

  1. Art says:

    Hi Lisa

    Thank you so much for publishing this article. I hope it will help others to learn about and be more aware of this addiction. I really like the effort you put into trying to help people.


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