Norco Infographic

Signs and Symptoms of Norco Use, Abuse, Addiction & Facts

What is Norco? How is it Ingested or Used?

Norco is a prescription drug that is prescribed to patients in need of pain relief. It’s a narcotic pain reliever with a composition that is a combination of acetaminophen and hydrocodone. Many people use this drug as prescribed, but others may have a predisposition to abuse it. If you or somebody you love is using Norco in a way that is not legally prescribed, the chance of becoming dependent on the drug is quite high. Not everyone who becomes dependent recognizes the symptoms of dependence. Often, it starts with taking a “little extra” until the user becomes reliant on the drug for its emotional pain relief and euphoric effects.

Norco is taken by mouth as a pill. The active ingredients in it are acetametaphon and hydrocodone. Other drugs that contain similar formulations are sold on the street and prescribed. Hydrocodone goes by many different street names. It is a very addictive drug.

Norco is not widely smoked, or injected, but the dependence on the narcotic ingredients often leads to injecting other drugs (like heroin).

Street names for Norco/hydrocodone:

  • Vics (“Vikes”)
  • Hydros
  • Watsons
  • Vicos
  • Vicodin
  • Lortab

Other prescription formulations that contain hydrocodone aside from Norco are Vicodin and Lortab.1 There are currently almost one hundred brand names that hydrocodone is distributed under in the United States. Some people who abuse Norco may snort it or mix it in a beverage.

What Are The Symptoms of Norco Abuse?

Norco abusers exhibit symptoms similar to other opiate abusers. While high, the opiate user may have shallow breathing, be disoriented or confused, or “nod out” in a position that makes their body appear to be sagging and heavy. They may slur their words or have slow reaction times. Norco abusers will often crush up their pills and split them to ration them. They may experiment with new ways of using the drug. Many narcotics users become dizzy while on the drug. A Norco pill abuser will run out of a prescription before it is time to refill it. They may ask for increasing dosages from their doctor.

What Are the Long-Term Effects and Dangers of Norco Abuse?

Norco is a highly addictive narcotic, and because of the nature of the drug, the number one danger of Norco abuse is overdose. Overdosing on Norco can result in permanent brain damage, liver failure and even death. Abuse of Norco can also cause the brain to stop naturally producing vital chemicals that affect mood. The result of this is often depression and a dependency on the drug.

Long-term use of Norco can cause respiratory problems, hearing loss and urinary retention.2 There is also a danger of falling into a stupor or coma. Because the body can only handle so much of the drug, there is always a chance that other side effects will occurs. Many people feel like they have a “mental fog” after long-term use of opiates. Some users end up with heart problems or skin problems, such as constant itching or skin rashes. Anyone who abuses Norco runs the risk of death from complications of these side effects.

Signs and Symptoms of Norco Dependency/Addiction

Patients who abuse Norco often find themselves with an increased tolerance to its effects, requiring more of the drug each time to get high. At this point, it is easy to overdose as larger (or unknown) quantities of the drug are ingested to get stronger effects. The drug user will start craving the drug more as Norco stimulates the brain’s reward system and attacks pain. Those cravings can quickly turn into serious withdrawal symptoms that will require a detox and/or taper from the drug under medical supervision.

Most Norco users who become addicted participate in increasing drug-seeking behavior. They may doctor shop in an attempt to get more prescriptions. They may start hoarding pills or slicing them in half. A person who is addicted to Norco will fear the painful withdrawal effects that come with ceasing it. Because of this, it is very hard for them to quit using the drug. They may commit crimes such as stealing from family or friends to support their addiction. They may suffer financial losses and loss of relationships. Some Norco users may find they can’t get a doctor to prescribe it for them anymore. In desperation, they often turn to the streets to buy it on the black market. Some of them will turn to heroin, instead, if it is cheaper and easier to find.

An addiction to Norco is a serious problem that should be addressed with the help of a qualified team of professional and detoxing or tapering should be handled under their supervision.

Get Help for Your Norco Addiction

If you think you have a problem with Norco, opiates, or another prescription medication, we’re here to help. Many addicts seek the help of our trained team of professionals to help them detox and start the road to recovery. You can reclaim your life from the pain of addiction. There are many options available to you.

Give us a call. It’s 100% confidential and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.


1.Hydrocodone, available here.
2.Hydrocodone – StatPearls, available here.