Common names:  Dillies, Dust, D, Juice, and Smack.

Hydromorphone is an opioid which has analgesic potency two to eight times that of morphine, but has a shorter duration of action and greater sedative properties.  It is obtained from physicians through prescription or by "doctor shopping", theft from pharmacies, forged prescriptions, and from friends and acquaintances.

Hydromorphone comes in tablets, rectal suppositories, oral solutions, and injectable formulations. Injectable solutions, as well as tablets that have been crushed and dissolved in a solution may be injected as a substitute for heroin. When used as a drug of abuse, and not under a doctor’s supervision, hydromorphone is taken to produce feelings of euphoria, relaxation, sedation, and reduced anxiety. It may also cause mental clouding, changes in mood, nervousness, and restlessness.

Hydromorphone works centrally in the brain to reduce pain and suppress cough. It is associated with both physiological and psychological dependence.  Some side effects include constipation, pupillary constriction, urinary retention, nausea, vomiting, respiratory depression, dizziness, impaired coordination, loss of appetite, rash, slow or rapid heartbeat, and changes in blood pressure.

 Overdose of hydromorphone can cause severe respiratory depression, drowsiness progressing to stupor or coma, lack of skeletal muscle tone, cold and clammy skin, constricted pupils, and reduction in blood pressure and heart rate.  Severe overdose may result in death due to respiratory depression.

Drugs with similar effects to hydromorphone include heroin, morphine, hydrocodone, fentanyl, and oxycodone. Hydromorphone is a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act with an accepted medical use as a pain reliever. Hydromorphone has a high potential for abuse and use may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.