In recent years, deaths surrounding heroin overdoses have risen greatly. Between 2018 and 2019, heroin has claimed more than 15,000 lives. Furthermore, an estimated 500,000 ages 12 and up are regular users. These stories of young adults succumbing to the darkness of heroin use and overdosing are truly heart-breaking, if not disturbing. Why has a drug as serious as heroin seemingly become so commonplace among so many people?
What Research Tells Us
- Affordability: Research shows that heroin is not only affordable but readily available. In fact, it is reported that heroin is cheaper on the streets now than it ever has been.
- Drug Markets: Some believe that perhaps our own drug market is perpetuating this addiction. Since there has been an increased availability, addiction has increased too. On top of this, those who were once prescribed opiates and became addicted found that transitioning into heroin use was relatively easy. One report said that most users prefer heroin because it is cheaper than prescription opiates. Another aspect to consider is that there has been more policing on prescription opioids, which has driven those addicted to opiates to seek heroin as an alternative.
- Intake: Another theory as to why heroin use is on the rise is that there are multiple ways a person can take it to get the same high. Delivery methods for heroin include intravenous use, ingested, snorted, and smoked.
- Expansion: A contributing factor may also be that heroin is no longer a black market drug. It has expanded from urban areas and moved into rural neighborhoods, and even swanky apartment complexes to broaden the number of users.
- Purity: Lastly, the high number of deaths might have something to do with the purity of the drug. The purer the drug, the better the high. Though it has been discovered that heroin can be mixed with other drugs and substances, one of the more common is Theraflu. Many in the DEA believe the reason why we are seeing so many overdoses is that the kind of heroin getting into these communities is mixed with other harmful substances.
Heroin Is Highly Addictive
One fact that must not be overlooked is just how addictive heroin is. Heroin is part of a class of drugs which attaches to the opioid receptors located throughout the brain, creating a high that relieves pain and produces high levels of euphoria. However, that high does not last long and therefore a user often seeks repeat use to regain or maintain the high. This high is very powerful, so finding the right kind of recovery is important.
Not only is the addictive nature of heroin concerning, but the withdrawal of heroin use can be some of the harshest. It creates an imbalance within a person’s emotions causing severe depression, and self-destructive tendencies. Since heroin addiction can develop fast, it is important to seek recovery right away. Heroin addiction is hard to recover from and therefore waiting is not an option if a person is beginning to show signs of heroin addiction.
Is Anybody Going to Do Something About This?
The quick answer is, yes. Actually, there are a lot of programs and communities trying to get control over the abundant heroin abuse in the United States as we speak. Some encouragement is that research lends great insight as to why addiction is so high. The effort is now focused more on getting the right people to cooperate in stopping the growth of heroin abuse.
How Are We Going to Stop the Growth?
NIDA (National Institue on Drug Abuse) has become proactive in helping to solve the opioid addiction crisis. In 2018 NIDA “launched a program to provide scientific solutions to the national opioid overdose crisis, including improved treatment strategies for pain as well as opioid use disorders (OUDs). This new initiative, funded by Congress, brings new hope for people, families, and communities affected by this devastating crisis” (drugabuse.gov, 2019).
Finding a solution begins with the communities. The more education and support a community has the better a community can go about combatting the heroin abuse epidemic.
While there might not be a satisfactory answer to this epidemic, there are a number of recovery options for those who might already be suffering from heroin addiction. True Recovery believes that the best way to recovery and staying recovered is by seeking help today! For more information or questions please call us now at (866) 399-6528.