man depressed due to heroin use

Prescription Pill Addiction Turning into Heroin Addiction

SoCal Detox
SoCal Detox

SoCal Detox editorial contributors include writers, editors, mental health and substance abuse treatment professionals who are trained to create credible and authoritative health information that is accurate, informative, and easy to understand.

In the past few years, America has been in the grips of a drug epidemic that seems to be growing worse by the day. Lawmakers, law enforcement, addiction professionals and concerned citizens alike are engaging in great debate in trying to find ways to stem the tide of drug abuse. No two drugs have garnered more attention in these debates than prescription medications and heroin. Highly addictive and extremely dangerous, the abuse of these two substances is widespread, and in certain parts of the country these drugs have destroyed lives and families.

To make matters worse, prescription pill and heroin addiction are becoming more interlinked–and those who once were addicted to prescribed medications are turning to heroin in order to get their fix. For those caught in the grips of addiction to either or both substances, the need for professional drug treatment is both urgent and immediate. If you or a loved one is struggling with and addiction to prescription pills and/or heroin, SoCal Detox can provide the help you need so you can start on the road to success in your recovery. Call us today!!

The Continuing Prescription Pill Epidemic

Many people know that the use of prescription medications in the United States is widespread and has more or less become an accepted part in medical treatment. While these medications are extremely effective when used as prescribed and as part of a comprehensive health management plan, prescription medications are often abused and abused by many people. The following are statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse concerning prescription pill abuse:

  • 52 million people in the United States over the age of 12 have used prescription pills non-medically in their lifetime, with 6.1 million using them non-medically in the last month.
  • The United States makes up 5 percent of the total world population, but consumes 75 percent of all prescription drugs.
  • Of the nearly 8.76 million prescription drug abusers in 2010, just over 5 million abused prescription painkillers such as Oxycontin and Percocet.

Whether it is prescription painkillers, anti-anxiety medications such as Xanax or stimulant-based medications such as Ritalin, these drugs are highly addictive and people who are hooked go to great lengths to obtain these medications. Those addicted to prescription medications often fake symptoms to get more medications or engage in doctor shopping if their regular doctor refused to issue prescriptions. If those methods fail, addicts often steal or buy these medications from family members or friends or will buy them on the black market.

How Prescription Pill Addiction Turned Into Heroin Addiction

manholding a needle filled with heroin

In the past few years, there has been many efforts by law enforcement, drug manufacturers and legislators to curb the misuse of prescription pills. For example, Oxycontin had been reformulated so that it would be harder to crush or made soluble for snorting or injection. Many states had created drug registries to carefully monitor the prescribing of medication, and law enforcement increased their surveillance and crackdown on illegal pill mills that were illegally manufacturing prescription medications.

While these measures did have some substantial effects in helping minimize the impact of prescription abuse, it also caused an unintentional consequence. For those who were addicted to pain medications such as Oxycontin, Percocet and Vicodin, they turned to heroin in order to get the same effect they had gotten with prescribed medications. It became apparent that drug abusers weren’t going to stop as a result of government crackdowns or new technologies. Simply put, drug abusers turned to other drugs.

Why Heroin?

There are reasons why prescription pill abusers (and especially those who abused prescription painkillers) turned to heroin. When compared to prescription medications, heroin is much cheaper and easier to get. Because of various laws and reformulations of prescription painkillers, the cost of these medications can run anywhere from $60-100 per pill. By contrast, quality heroin can be purchased on the street for as little as $5. Heroin is at record lows in regards to price due to the fact that cartels in Latin American countries have increased production of the drug as well as increased importation.

Another reason that prescription pill abusers switch to heroin is simply the fact that heroin is the perfect substitute for prescription painkillers. Common prescription painkillers such as Vicodin, Oxycontin and Percocet are actually opioid-based drugs like heroin. Both heroin and prescription painkillers are derived from opium. Heroin has similar effects to painkillers in terms of the high that users experience, making it an ideal substitute for those looking for a way to replace their painkillers.

Additionally, heroin is easier to use. Many prescription pain medications are designed to be time-released so that people who take them receive a consistent low dosage over an extended period of time. In order to get high on these medications, users would have to crush the pills or tablets to disable the time release mechanism. With these drugs constantly being reformulated and designed, it becomes harder for abusers who use these methods. By contrast, heroin comes as a fine powder that is ready for use as soon as the person gets his or her hands on it.

Users are easily able to administer the drug in a variety of ways without much effort. They can take the powder and snort it or smoke it through the use of tinfoil. The powder can also be made easily soluble so users can intravenously inject the drug. Additionally, users can combine heroin with other drugs such as cocaine to make concoctions called speedballs.

Are You Addicted To Prescription Pills or Heroin? Get Help Now!

Whether you are addicted to prescription pills or to heroin, both drugs are highly addictive, have serious side effects, can can severely impact your life. If you, a loved one or a friend are addicted to these drugs, you must seek professional help immediately. To start your recovery journey on the right foot, you first must complete medical detoxification in order to minimize the potentially dangerous physical and psychological symptoms of withdrawal.

For detox services that are effective and proven to help you regain your health, contact SoCal Detox today. Don’t put off  your recovery for another day; call us now and let us help you break the vicious cycle of addiction once and for all.

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