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How Prevalent Is Heroin In The Opioid Epidemic?

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When we talk about the opioid epidemic there is often a focus on the opioid medications being widely abused all over the country. In replacement of what tends to be the final drug of choice for opiate addicts, heroin, has been the blanket word “opioid”. Opioids can include prescription painkillers, synthetic painkillers, and heroin. Most people who become addiction to opioid painkillers or synthetic painkillers which act as opioids end up becoming addicted to heroin.

Columbia University found that between 2001 and 2013, the use of heroin increased 500%- an astonishing number. During this time period is the “climax” of the opioid epidemic in which an increasing amount of medical patients receiving opioid painkillers as treatment were becoming addicted. In 2014, 47,055 people died due to opioid-related deaths, which includes fatal overdose and accidental death. JAMA Psychiatry published a study which cited that as of 2014, 75% of those who were addicted to opioids and seeking treatment had found opioids through a prescription.

Today, the toll of heroin and other opioid drugs in the epidemic is substantial. Recent data analysis has found that more people die of opioid drug overdose than they do from car crashes or gun violence- two causes of death which have been leading for many decades.

Why Is Heroin The End Result Of Opioid Addiction?

Heroin is a street-level drug which is rarely pure. Opioid painkillers, especially those by name are complicated once an addict becomes consumed by their addiction. First, opioid painkillers are expensive. Second, because there is such an awareness regarding opioid addiction, an addict has to go to great lengths to find doctors and pharmacies to continue filling their prescriptions. When opioid addicts turn to pills bought from drug dealers on the street, they still face a problem of price. More concerningly, they face a problem of purity and quality. As their minds and bodies become more chemically dependent upon opioids, they become desperate. Heroin is cheap and available. Despite the inherent threats of using heroin, the body of an opioid addict must continue ingesting opioids to survive.

Currently, there is an issue in the heroin people are buying on the street due to the prevalence of Fentanyl. Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid painkiller which is estimated to be up to 100 times more powerful than morphine. Practically transparent and undetectable by smell, it is easy for drug manufacturers to “cut” Fentanyl into heroin, creating a deadly combination which is claiming many lives.

There is freedom in recovery from heroin and opioid addiction. Design For Change offers refuge to those seeking recovery and change in their lives. Everyone is capable of change. Everyone is capable of recovery. Call us today for information on our treatment programs and recovery services: (877) 267-3646.

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