Hydrocodone is a drug derived from either codeine or thebaine, two natural opiates, and is a semi-synthetic opioid. It is used in prescription medications as a pain reliever, or analgesic, and as a cough suppressant, or antitussive, but its morphine- and heroine-like properties can lead to addiction and abuse. To detect the presence of hydrocodone in the body, a hydrocodone test can be performed, for example by an employer, in a drug rehabilitation program, or in a criminal investigation. A hydrocodone test is done by analyzing either a blood sample, which is usually done in a laboratory, or a urine sample, which can be done either in a laboratory or as part of a home drug test kit. The most accurate type of hydrocodone test is a blood sample analyzed in a laboratory.
Apart from its medical properties as a pain reliever and cough suppressant, hydrocodone can also decrease mental and physical capacity and produce feelings of euphoria and calmness. The physical and mental effects of hydrocodone are similar to those produced by heroin and morphine, and like those drugs, it can be addictive. Hydrocodone is often cited as one of the most commonly abused prescription drugs in the United States, especially among youth.
This drug is not always reliably detected by all drug tests, and often a specific hydrocodone test is necessary to determine its presence. Hydrocodone can also trigger false positive results in certain drug tests designed to screen for codeine, cocaine, and morphine. This means that legal use of a medically prescribed medication containing hydrocodone can cause test results indicating illicit drug use. In such cases, a hydrocodone test can be done to determine if hydrocodone or other drugs caused the positive test result.
A more precise type of hydrocodone test is usually required to differentiate between legal and illegal use of the drug. More basic hydrocodone test kits using a urine sample can often only detect whether hydrocodone is present or not. However, a hydrocodone test using a blood sample that is analyzed in a laboratory can determine how much of the drug is present. The concentration of hydrocodone in the blood is commonly much higher in cases of drug abuse than medical use.
Medications containing hydrocodone are only available by prescription in many countries, including the United States. In other countries, such as the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, hydrocodone is not available even for medical use. This is mainly due to the risk of abuse and addiction.