Understanding Demerol

Demerol is a synthetic opioid used to manage moderate to severe pain. It has one tenth the potency of morphine but with a similar addictive potential.

In other cases, Demerol may also be labeled as its generic name: meperidine. When provided to patients, Demerol usually comes in 100mg tablet or as an injection.

Demerol is often prescribed either in preparation of or after a surgery and is rarely ever given to people outside of a medical setting. This means that if you are experiencing chronic pain but are not an inpatient, it is highly unlikely that your doctor will prescribe Demerol to you.

Demerol Addiction

It is a commonly held belief that prescription opioids are less addictive than their illicit counterparts. Nevertheless, it is still possible to develop a dependency on your prescription. In fact, regular Demerol can lead to addiction–even when prescribed dosages are taken.

Inevitably, a person abusing Demerol and other opioids will run out of their prescription and will have to procure more. One common tactic referred to as “doctor swapping”, is a method used by addicted individuals to fraudulently obtain a new prescription.

This usually involves faking an injury or faking symptoms to convince their doctor to prescribe them more of the medication. Once the doctor catches on, they simply find another one to swindle.

Think that your friend or loved-one may be abusing Demerol? Here are some other behaviors and signs they are experiencing Demerol addiction or abuse.

  • Missing important events or making appointments that they can’t keep.
  • Losing money and failing to meet financial obligations such as bills or rent.
  • Your loved one is engaging in risky behaviors.
  • Isolating from friends and family to hide their addiction.
  • Having difficulty focusing, listening, or completing tasks.
  • Exhibiting emotionally unstable behavior.
  • Facing legal consequences for their actions.
  • Showing up to work or family events intoxicated.

The Chilling Effects of Demerol Abuse

When abused, Demerol, while in pill form can be crushed for snorting, swallowed, or injected. It can be obtained by a doctor on purchased on the black market. On the street Demerol (or meperidine) is known by many other names like: “Dillies”, “Dust” or “D”.1

Addiction to prescription opioids can happen unexpectedly. When people take more of their medication than prescribed, it is usually because they are struggling with pain symptoms–not because they are trying to abuse them intentionally. This is consistent with how medical experts understand about tolerance.

For others intentionally abusing Demerol, the risk of overdose and death can be high–especially given its reactivity with other substances. According to the FDA:

“Therapeutic doses of meperidine have occasionally precipitated unpredictable, severe, and occasionally fatal reactions in patients who have received such agents [MAO inhibitors] within 14 days…Some have been characterized by coma, severe respiratory depression, cyanosis, and hypotension”

Even when used alone Demerol has other side effects including:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Being on the nod (a sudden lapse of consciousness)
  • Dizziness or disorientation
  • Heart Attack
  • Sleep apnea
  • Liver and kidney complications
  • Hypertension and stroke
  • Tremors, shaking and seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Issues with sleep regularity
  • Fainting
  • Coma
  • Hypothermia
  • Compulsive itching
  • Irritability
  • General discomfort
  • Heavy perspiration
  • Nausea, vomiting which
  • Appetite suppression
  • Extremely contracted pupils

Demerol Addiction and Withdrawal

Like with other opioids, Demerol use carries a significant risk of dependency. If you are receiving Demerol or meperidine under the guidance of a medical and are experiencing a rise in tolerance or feelings of dependency, it is important to consult with your doctor.

While it may be unpleasant, steps can be taken to change medication and modify dosage in a way that can prevent addiction from occurring. For those who are deliberately abusing Demerol or meperidine, however, entering a medical drug detox program is highly recommended.

During the detox process, a person will experience a myriad of physical and psychological symptoms. Detoxing in a secure inpatient facility can provide a number of benefits including:

  • Providing a secure relapse-free facility to get clean in
  • Nutritional assistance
  • A 24/7 medically supervised environment
  • Use of medication to alleviate moderate to severe withdrawal symptoms.
  • Detox treatment in a safe and supportive environment

The Stages of Demerol Withdrawal

Soon after Demerol leaves the body, withdrawal symptoms begin to emerge. Within the first day of stopping Demerol, a person can expect to experience nausea, mood swings as the wave of symptoms.

From the second day to the end of week 1, symptoms reach their height. At this stage, symptoms are mostly physical and include fever, nausea, lack of appetite, headaches, and strong cravings.

From day 6 until the end of week 2, physical symptoms decline. As physical symptoms decline, psychological symptoms such as anxiety or depression become more prominent. This period is also referred to as the post-acute withdrawal phase of detox or “PAWS”.

From Week 2, on most symptoms will have subsided or are on their way out. At this point, medical detox is usually completed. From here, it is recommended that a person receive additional rehabilitation either from an inpatient or intensive outpatient program.

Get Help Now

If you or a loved one is dealing with Demerol addiction, you are not alone. Millions of people have found solace in their addictions thanks to treatment programs. Don’t be afraid to call a treatment professional who can assist you in locating a treatment center.

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