Understanding the Drug Epidemic: Prescription Opioids vs. Heroin
The Drug Epidemic impacting the United States has taken the lives of more than 64,000 people in 2016, making it apparent just how severe and widespread drug addiction and use truly is. More specifically, this epidemic has become as great of a problem as it has due to the incline in cases related to opioid abuse, addiction, and overdose.
The Opioid Epidemic is largely due to the over-prescribing of prescription opioids. While some states have tighter restrictions on prescription opioid medications now, it was only a couple decades ago when healthcare professionals were prescribing them at a quick rate. Dependency and misuse of these prescription drugs quickly became a consequence of overprescribing them, some of which include OxyContin, Percocet, and Vicodin. Over the years, it has become apparent that these prescriptions have been abused and eventually, the people that held a prescription for these opioids end up turning to cheaper, more potent drugs on the street, like heroin.
While some of the more commonly known prescription opioids include Oxycontin, Percocet, and Vicodin, there are many more. Codeine, hydrocodone, Dilaudid, Demerol, methadone, morphine, Suboxone, and even fentanyl are also classified as prescription opioids. Several decades ago, pharmaceutical companies advertised these types of prescription opioids as non-addictive, but the reality is that they are extremely addicting. Tolerance occurs when these prescription drugs are taken for an extended period of time at the same dose and withdrawals occur when they are suddenly stopped after continual use.
The street drug heroin has been tied to a number of overdoses and overdose deaths, especially now that more and more batches of heroin have been discovered to be mixed with fentanyl – which is 50 times more potent than heroin and that much more deadly. The risk of a heroin overdose is already high, so when fentanyl is added into the mix, there’s even greater risk.
Prescription opioid use and abuse often leads to addiction, which can ultimately lead the people who are dependent on these prescriptions to turn to a cheaper alternative like heroin and fentanyl. As a result overprescribing and the transition from prescription opioids to street drugs like heroin, addicts are dying every day from drug overdoses.
Treatment for Drug Addiction
While the Opioid Epidemic is affecting the nation and even the entire world, recovery from drug addiction is possible. There is no cure for addiction, but there is effective treatment, which can begin with a medical detox and inpatient drug rehab. The reality is that withdrawal occurs from a number of drugs, especially those in which are physically addictive like prescription opioids and heroin. This is why it is extremely important to detox off these drugs in safe and supervised setting, such as at a medical detox. However, detox alone will not heal an addiction. Treatment can begin once an addict is detoxed off all substances. Then, the underlying problems that cause the individual to self-medicate and turn to these drugs can be addressed.
If you are suffering from any type of drug addiction, including prescription opioid addiction and heroin addiction, The Watershed is here to help. Providing treatment for over 55,000 alcoholics and addicts since 1998, The Watershed has remained dedicated to restoring lives. You do not have to struggle anymore. Recovery is possible. Call The Watershed for help today at 1-800-861-1768.Tags: heroin addiction, heroin epidemic, Prescription drug, prescription drug addiction, prescription drug treatment, prescription painkillers