Opiate use in the USA has increased and decreased over the years due to a number of different reasons. However, the number of people using prescription pain killers has been rising since the late 1990s. Some of these people are prescribed the pills through a doctor, but many other people get these pills from friends, family, or from dealers. Federal agencies have taken notice and they have pushed for stricter rules to limit and stop abuse of prescription opiate pills. These measures have decreased pill mills, which were very popular in Florida. A prescription pain killer addiction is an expensive one, and many pill addicts turn to heroin because it’s a cheaper, yet similar high.
Although prescription drug use has fallen because of the federal crackdown, heroin use has gone up. This article explores the recent rise in heroin use. According to the article, the company that produced and sold OxyContin (Purdue Pharma) was fined $600 million dollars in 2010 for not disclosing how addictive the drug was and responded by making the pills more resistant to tampering. Many states have taken measures to cut abuse by implementing drug monitoring programs that are designed to track the dispensing of drugs. These programs also flag suspicious behavior, according to the article. The price of prescription pills on the street has skyrocketed because the new pills are tamper-resistant, there is a huge reduction in supply, and the government has increased their scrutiny over this industry. The article also cited a recent survey in which people in treatment centers were asked their drug of choice. The survey reported that the responses for OxyContin dropped 64% but heroin was nearly doubled from the previous year.
Many people have legitimate uses for prescription opiates but some pharmaceutical companies actively provided incentives for doctors to prescribe opiates. This fact may have contributed towards and attitude where doctors began prescribing prescription opiates for minor ailments even thought simpler (and non-addictive) pain medication would have sufficed. Even if the pill mill days are over, the article points out that overdose from illicit drugs (including prescription pills) has now become the number one cause of accidental deaths in the USA.
The only way for most people to get clean from heroin or from prescription opiates is by going to a treatment center. Please get help for your loved one before it is too late.