The opioid epidemic has certainly sparked some questions regarding opioid use and gateway drugs. As the National Safety Council indicates, 60 people die every day from a result of opioid overdose, with heroin addiction becoming an increasingly easy transition for many people. Injuries often begin with a prescription painkiller but can lead to illicit substance abuse once a person has become dependent on the drug. With so many patients and so little time, doctors typically have been unable to keep a close eye on their patients to ensure they’re not become addicted to their medication – and that’s often when a dangerous cycle ensues.
Even those who haven’t experienced a medical reason for opioids can transition to heroin use. For example, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states that between 2002 to 2012, heroin initiation was 19 times higher amongst those who reported prior nonmedical pain reliever use compared to those who did not. Friends, family members and coworkers are able to get their hands on opioids through those they know and those they don’t, which truly places them at greater risk for substance abuse and ultimately, overdose.
A study published in the International Journal of Drug Policy sought to explore the transition from prescription drugs to heroin. After completing semi-structured interviews, they found that a major reason for this transition was because of both cost and accessibility. Several participants noted that once they had become dependent on their prescription drugs, they began seeking out cheaper – and easier – alternatives because the prescription drugs became too difficult – and too expensive – to obtain.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains that the strongest risk factor for heroin addiction is prescription drug addiction. With this, more steps need to be taken, such as providing more community-wide education and recovery services and greater access to healthcare. Most importantly, we need to seek help when the signs of dependency are present – and we need to seek it right away.
If you’re ready to begin taking steps towards your happiness and health, speak with a professional from a reputable treatment center today. It’s never too late to start working towards recovery.
We believe in your ability to change. We know men struggling with addiction have the capacity to create transformative change in their lives, sustainably, building a sustainable sobriety and future. Call Tree House Recovery in Orange County, California today for information on our men’s addiction treatment programs: (855) 202-2138