Heroin Use Rises as Prescription Painkillers Become Harder to Abuse

See on Scoop.itTeen Drug and Alcohol Abuse Trends


By Join Together Staff | June 7, 2012

Regulations designed to make it more difficult to abuse
prescription painkillers are leading to an increase in heroin addiction, MSNBC reports. Heroin is inexpensive, powerful and may be even
more destructive than painkillers, experts note.

Law enforcement officials report there is an abundance of cheap
heroin from Mexico. They are seeing it in upscale suburbs, where heroin was
once hard to find. Young heroin users are increasing in areas including
Illinois suburbs, Long Island, New York, and Seattle. Emergency room visits for
heroin use among young adults are on the rise, according to the national Drug
Abuse Warning Network.

Until recently, heroin addiction was seen mainly in men living
in urban areas, many of them minorities. In Ohio, most people entering
treatment programs for heroin addiction are white, and many are young. They
come from both poor rural areas and wealthy suburbs, and many are female.

In Ohio, “doctor shopping” for painkillers has become more
difficult since the state implemented a database to track prescriptions. The
state also passed a law in 2011 to help fight “pill mills” that dispense
painkillers. Many other states have taken similar steps to fight prescription
drug abuse, the news report notes.

As a result of these measures, prescription painkillers have
become more expensive–$30 to $80 per pill, compared with $10 for a bag of

Dr. Steven Matson of Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus,
Ohio, says he now sees many young people from upscale suburbs who use heroin.
“Because of the availability of these drugs now, it is not an unusual story
that we hear, ‘I went to a party, some friends there were doing heroin, so I
shot up,’” he said. “It seems like madness that you would go to a party and
never have used anything and then use heroin. But that’s what’s happening with
some children.”

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