From the time we’re children, we learn that drug use is bad, and we also learn about what the most dangerous drugs are. If you were to ask anyone what they thought was the worst drug out there, they’d probably say heroin. This often makes people wonder why so many people are addicted to the drug when it’s common knowledge how dangerous it is. Most heroin addicts didn’t begin using heroin as their first drug of choice, and they most likely thought they’d never even try the drug. However, with the raging opioid epidemic in this country today, many individuals go straight from prescriptions to heroin abuse.
The core cause of heroin addiction is prescription drug abuse. So it’s easy to see how going from prescriptions to heroin abuse is not that complicated of a gateway. Painkillers are one of the world’s biggest problem drugs, and many people don’t realize how the disease of addiction can progress. These medications are prescribed for people when they’ve had an injury or a surgery to help them manage pain, but there are also people who turn to the medication as a way to get high. The medication works by attaching to opiate receptors in the brain, which helps to block pain while also giving a euphoric effect.
Those who are prescribed that drug and become addicted start off by abusing the medication. They find that the normal dosage that has been prescribed isn’t helping the pain like it used to, or they’re not feeling the same effects that they once did. This is the first sign of a dependence to the medication. The brain becomes tolerant and begins to crave the substance. It makes the person think that the pain is greater than what it is so they will use more.
The problem with abusing medications is that it’s extremely difficult to get refills. Doctors and pharmacies have been finding as many ways as possible to prevent potential painkiller abuse, which results in the person having to find new means to get more. The person will begin to steal the medication from friends and family members, and they will also begin buying the medication on the streets.
When prescription opiate addiction has reached the point where the person is seeking out drug dealers, their disease quickly progresses. They’ll begin to buy stronger medications like OxyContin because it’s a commonly sold painkiller on the streets. OxyContin typically sells for about $80 to $100 on the streets, so their addiction can get quite expensive. At some point they find out that heroin gives a better high, and it’s much cheaper.
Although the person thought they’d never use such a drug, they’ll quickly change their mind in order to feed their addiction and avoid the harsh symptoms of withdrawal.
If you or someone you love is struggling with a heroin addiction, or you are afraid they may slide from prescriptions to heroin abuse, the best way to get better is by going to a qualified drug treatment center. Here, the addict will be given the care and attention that they need while they go through the detox process. After detox, they’ll be able to begin rehabilitation where they’ll learn how to live a better life without the use of heroin or any other mind-altering substance.
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