The drug tramadol is a controlled substance, prescribed for the relief of pain. The opioid analgesic falls in the same category as other painkillers, such as hydrocodone, oxycodone and oxycontin.
As opioids go, tramadol, which is sold under a number of genic names like Ultram and Conzip, comes with a lower risk of addiction.
That said, it is not harmless and can lead to dependency, most especially when mixed with other opioids or alcohol. As a result, getting high on tramadol carries many of the same overdose risks that other prescription painkillers and heroin do.
How Does Tramadol Work?
One reason some physicians prefer prescribing tramadol over other opioid medications is because it acts somewhat differently.
Similar to other prescription painkillers, tramadol binds to opioid receptors in the brain, which helps to relieve pain, though, unlike, say, Oxycontin, it doesn’t bind to as many receptors.
In other words, it works to relieve pain, but has fewer euphoric side effects. However, the longer a person stays on tramadol the more likely they are to fall into opioid addiction.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimates that more than 2 million people in the United States suffer from an opioid addiction.
How do People Abuse Tramadol?
The painkiller comes in several dosages, anywhere from 50 milligrams to 300 milligrams, depending on a person’s prescription. While it can be administered intravenously, it’s usually prescribed in pill form.
Like any other drug, tramadol can be abused in any number of ways, including:
- Chewing, snorting or smoking
- Injecting the drug
- Taking more of the medication and more often than prescribed
- Ingesting other drugs, such as alcohol, while taking tramadol
The three main sources for tramadol are a doctor’s prescription, getting it from friends or family or coming across it on the black market, including internet sales.
Attempting to get high on a drug that comes from anyone but a physician is risky considering there’s no way to know if a pill is really tramadol outside of taking the illegal drug to lab for verification, which is not a common practice among illicit drug users.
Common side effects of tramadol use and abuse, according to the Mayo Clinic can include some of the following:
- Abdominal pain, diarrhea and constipation
- Anxiety, depression and agitation
- Drowsiness, loss of strength and feeling weak
- Dry mouth, fever and headaches
- Loss of appetite
- Joint pain and itching skin
- Nervousness, irritability and restlessness
Is Getting High on Tramadol Safe?
It’s important for everyone to understand that it’s not safe to get high on tramadol and it should only be used according to a doctor’s prescription recommendations.
Just like other opioids, including heroin, abusing tramadol is not only unsafe, but it can also lead to serious consequences, like addiction and fatal overdose.
It’s estimated, according to an interim report by the Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, reports Fortune Health, that as many as 142 Americans die every day from drug overdoses.
Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey and one of the commissions lead authors, said, “We have a 9/11-scale loss ever three weeks,” due to the epidemic of opioid addiction in the United States.
Tramadol is only safe as prescribed and getting on the drug can lead to addiction. It’s important to note that a tramadol dependency can cause withdraw if a person stops taking the drugs all at once. Addiction to tramadol, however, is treatable and many have their addiction to the painkiller in the past.