From Prescription Painkillers to Heroin – Prescription drugs driving heroin surge

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In a previous article I discussed how in Canada the painkiller prescription problem seems to be on the decrease after certain government measures. The same thing appears to be happening south of the border in the United States. While some communities in Canada seem to be turning towards the drug Fentanyl instead of OxyContin, Americans in larger numbers are turning from prescription painkiller tablets to heroin. It isn’t a new phenomena, but recent numbers and statistics from various American health organizations like the CDC (Center for Disease Control) are showing a decline in prescription medication abuse, and sharp rise in heroin abuse country wide, and not just in the cities and other urban communities, but in suburban USA where a large number of the white population lives. Not only has the abuse of prescription drug abuse gone down, but so have the rate of overdoses and deaths. Of course, when it comes to heroin, abuse has gone up as well as overdoses and death. In response to these troubling findings, Novus Medical Detox Center, among others, have decided that the best route to take is to educate Americans on the dangers of street drugs like heroin, which to this day remains one of the best options in dealing with the prevention of drug use, especially when numbers like these are being observed:

Upon analyzing the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, researchers discovered that the number of people abusing or dependent on pain relievers dropped from 2.1 million in 2012 to 1.9 million in 2013, a 9.5% decrease, while the number of people abusing or dependent on heroin rose from 467,000 to 517,000—a 10.7% increase (1). Furthermore, a study of fatal drug overdoses found that from 2011 to 2012, prescription painkiller deaths fell from 16,917 to 16,007 (a 5.4% decrease), yet heroin deaths rose from 4,397 to 5,927—a 34.8% increase (2).

The rise in heroin use is being attributed to a number of factors. The statistics are telling us that approximately 3 out of 4 new heroin users report having been addicted to prescription painkillers prior to making the switch to heroin. The second factor is the widespread crackdown on illegal pain clinics across the country as well as things known as “Pill mills” that produce illegal and cheap versions of prescription drugs. Evidence also suggests that the costs of prescription medications are a motivational factor for addicts to switch from spending $80 on a single tablet of 80-milligram OxyContin versus $10 on heroin.

Substance abuse, of any nature will eventually have negative effects on both users and those surrounding them as well as on government institutions and health care. Not to mention the financial burden of being addicted to drugs which can easily push an addict into poverty. Other concerning items are that the various relationships addicts will lose as well as the potential for being arrested for drug related offenses and the potential for incarceration. New heroin users contribute so significantly to the overdose and death statistics because they are often used to the measure doses of prescription medications and often underestimate the power of heroin when first using the drug, and since many heroin users often share supplies there is a massive increase in the number of infections and diseases like HIV and hepatitis which can lead to severe liver problems and health concerns.

Luckily there are amazing treatment options available to help addicts end their addictions to painkillers before they ever become addicted to another, more powerful substance like heroin, but with the worryingly increasing statistics about heroin use across the US, people need proper drug education and access to clear and concise facts about addiction and drugs in order to prevent a further increase in substance abuse problems nation wide.

 

VIA:DIGITALJOURNAL

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Sobriety Foundation

From Prescription Painkillers to Heroin – Prescription drugs driving heroin surge

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