Posts Tagged opioid

The Growing Heroin Epidemic Throughout the United States

The rising tide of widespread heroin abuse and addiction is now affecting more age groups as well as more affluent suburban regions throughout the country

It seems not all that long ago we were all talking about the growing epidemic surrounding opiate pain pill use among numerous segments of society.  Drugs such as Oxycontin, Norco, Vicodin and Percocet might as well have been household terms.  As a result, addiction treatment centers nationwide were seeing a tremendous rise in client populations with dependencies related to this class of drugs.  Consequently, new government regulations and procedures kicked in as a means of curtailing the growing epidemic, while simultaneously creating enormous increase in price and availability.

Many treatment professionals agree that much of why the growing heroin epidemic is occurring is due to a ripple effect caused by increased pricing and diminished availability of opiate painkillers, the most common of which being Oxycodone and Hydrocodone.  Add to that the already low cost associated with heroin as compared to a variety of other street drugs, and it’s no wonder we’re seeing this type of trend. The change taking place today however, is the fact that such devastating substances are no longer confined to stereotypical classes such as, inner cities, Hollywood elite and so on. Today the wrath of heroin is seen in some of the nation’s most affluent regions, regions once thought to be immune from such unheard of scenarios.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the number of Americans who have used heroin had risen from 373,000 in 2007 to 669,000 in 2012  The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) claims that 4.2 million Americans have tried heroin, and 23% of those having tried it have or will become physically dependent.

A common bridge into the world of heroin use is often created among teens and young adults having initially entered by way of pharmaceuticals.  What may have started as an innocent Friday night party tool via of mom’s vicodin bottle in the medicine cabinet, quickly turns toward a street-drug addiction once the bottle or prescribing physician are no longer on-call.  Given the unrelenting nature of opiate and opioid’s physical dependence, not to mention its agonizing withdrawal symptoms, turning to heroin is a quick and comparatively inexpensive remedy.  Consequently we’re now seeing affluent suburban and even rural regions being engulfed by its grasp.  Towns like Calabasas and Simi Valley, California; states like Vermont and New Jersey; the list of once thought unlikely hot spots continues to rise.

In an article dated Dec, 7, 2012, Maryland’s Baltimore Sun newspaper published statistics showing a direct correlation between declining prescription pill abuse and its inverse result result with heroin.  These addicts need their fix and when the bottle runs dry there needs to be a suitable replacement.

It remains our sincere hope that as addiction educations thrives, and as awareness of substance abuse consequences becomes more and more mainstream, that we as a society will begin to see steadily declining numbers.  For those needing help or who may know someone needing help, we encourage you to embrace a “take-charge” attitude and act immediately.  Heroin kills, it kills thousands of people each year!  One hot dose is all it takes…

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