Darvocet was a synthetic opioid used in the treatment of mild-to-moderate pain. The drug possesses a chemical structure similar to that of methadone but poses immediate dangers to those who use it even as prescribed. The drug was prescribed to millions of people for many years. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), however, stepped in eventually and banned Darvocet. This decision came as no surprise to those familiar with Darvocet in the medical community.
By 2010, Darvocet was taken off the market to help curb the damage it had been causing. The FDA had enough evidence to remove it when the drugs’ grave potential for addiction outweighed its potential medical properties. Medical professionals stated that Darvocet was an opioid that offered placebo benefits for opioid dangers. This was a breaking point for its outright ban.
Darvocet is no longer prescribed by doctors nor is it available, but the drug still circulates illegally in our communities. There is a black market for Darvocet online where it is being sold for as little as $2 dollars per pill. A drug’s removal doesn’t indicate it will disappear entirely. If there is a demand for a product, someone will find a way to distribute it to make money.
Darvocet is much weaker when compared to other opioids. The main issue with the drug, however, is that if someone overdoses on it, they could be dead in less than an hour. It is these very problems that prompted the FDA to pull the drug from mass production. Let’s take a look at what Darvocet is.
What is Darvocet?
Propoxyphene and acetaminophen are the two active ingredients that make up the brand name Darvocet. The purpose of opioids are for the treatment of pain. Our bodies create natural opioids that are used for blocking pain, but those are not always enough. Narcotic opioids like Darvocet bind to those natural opioid receptors in the brain and block pain signals for additional relief. This gives the body a break from pain, but it also creates a euphoric high for its users.
Darvocet is paired with the popular over-the-counter pain reliever acetaminophen to increase pain relief. Although it was added to increase the strength of the drug, Darvocet is still significantly weaker than other opioids such as Norco or Percocet while doing less to eliminate mild pain. Due to its status of not being able to treat pain adequately, Darvocet has been used in the treatment of opioid addiction withdrawal during medical detox.
Darvocet has been around for quite some time. It was introduced and approved in 1972 as a pain reliever. The backlash of the drug’s use was almost instant when doctors immediately petitioned for its removal from the market. Doctors around the country were citing how dangerously addictive the narcotic was, and they highlighted fatal heart problems could arise from its use. The doctors pleaded that the risks did not outweigh the benefits in this case. It took 30 years of petitioning before the FDA finally took action and banned Darvocet.
Unfortunately, as with most drugs, there is still a black market where the substance can be bought illegally. On the street, these drugs are called “pinks, 65’s, footballs, and N’s.” The typical means of ingestion is orally, but those who abuse the drug crush and snort the pill for a more instant effect. To achieve the high users seek, they must consume a high dose because of how weak the substance is. This can lead to an instant overdose especially when snorted.
What are the Signs of Darvocet Addiction?
Drug addiction in the early stages is often difficult to detect. Those who consume Darvocet and still resume normal functions will often leave no indicators they’re using. Over time, however, these signs will become more pronounced that the individual is using. At this point though, it may be too late to stop the person from developing an addiction. Once an addiction has formed, there are signs that become apparent. These include:
- Frequent drowsiness
- Skin Rashes
- Suicidal thoughts
- Irregular heart rate
- Chest pains
The physical symptoms in most cases will be enough to determine that someone is using. There are other factors as well that should be monitored. Once the individual in question has become addicted, their decisions will all be predicated on getting money to get the drug or getting the drug. Other abuse symptoms include:
- Hiding Darvocet abuse
- Becoming increasingly absent from daily obligations (e.g. work, school family)
- Rationalizing narcotic abuse
- Inability to stop using Darvocet despite multiple attempts
- Neglecting one’s appearance, hygiene
- Doing anything to get Darvocet despite consequences
What is Involved in Darvocet Addiction Treatment?
The severity of a person’s addiction will always determine which path lies ahead for that individual, but medical professionals can assess your situation and medical condition before recommending the best treatment for you. There are specific guidelines that must be followed to ensure sobriety in the long-term. Accepting that there is a problem and seeking out treatment is the hardest step that will be taken on your own. However, there will be support each step of the way after the first step is made.
All paths to recovery will differ, but the first stop typically begins with medical detox. Detoxification is necessary to allow a safe transition into a sober mindset. Detox will rid the body of all traces of the drugs while allowing your brain chemistry to readjust. Detox helps mitigate the potential risks involved and provides medical professionals who provide around-the-clock care. Medical detox also allows for medication to be dispensed if needed and alleviate intense withdrawal symptoms you may experience.
Your doctor will have created a medical plan with you at this point. If your addiction is severe and you’re at risk for relapse, you may be placed into a residential treatment center. You will be living on-site for up to 90 days with 24-hour supervision that offers support. You will be in the presence of other clients on the same path. This experience will never allow you to feel alone. You will go through a series of therapies that offer a window into how to deal with your triggers outside of treatment. The most common therapies include:
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Addiction education
- Family counseling
- Group therapy
- 12-step support programs
If the medical team determines that you’re risk of relapse is low, and you have a healthy environment at home as well as a short history of substance abuse, it is likely they will recommend that you enter an outpatient treatment program. Outpatient offers the same therapy sessions you would receive in a residential setting; the only difference is you can return home after your sessions are completed. These cutting-edge therapies have been proven as effective for those in outpatient. You would be required to attend at least nine hours per week and submit to regular drug tests. This method of treatment is best for individuals unable to neglect their obligations.
How Dangerous is Darvocet?
The FDA banned Darvocet in 2010. This should be enough to describe the dangers of the drug, but it is not enough to convince some to stop. Darvocet is still dangerous when used as prescribed because the drug can bring on heart problems such as arrhythmia as a result of use. Physical symptoms aside, Darvocet has been said to exaggerate thoughts of suicide in those who are already prone to depression. This was doctors’ primary concern, which is what officially led to the decision to have the drug removed from the market. Darvocet is a drug that should never be consumed.
Darvocet Abuse Statistics
- Roughly 10 million people were taking Darvocet was it was removed from the market.
- 35 million people in the U.S. have been hospitalized for using drugs like Darvocet.
The director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group claims that between roughly 1,000 to 2,000 people died as a result of taking Darvocet in the time between the bans in the U.K. and U.S.