Opioid prescription painkillers have become one of the worst drug crises in American history. Attempts to combat pill abuse with laws have seen some success, but America is still struggling with the deadly trend of opioid addiction. Now, the question is getting raised: are our efforts to fight prescription painkiller abuse leading to an epidemic of heroin overdose?
The Prescription Painkiller Problem
In the last 10 or 15 years, America has seen the abuse of prescription painkillers skyrocket. Blame is usually laid on several factors:
- A movement among doctors and hospital personnel to take pain more seriously
- Consumers believing that all discomfort should have a medical (i.e., pharmaceutical) cure
- Advertising pushes by the pharmaceutical corporations aimed at convincing doctors to prescribe painkillers more liberally
Thus, doctors began handing out prescriptions for painkillers to people with chronic aches and pains-which they never would've done before.
The Fight Back Against Prescription Medication Addiction
So, the government and law enforcement sprang into action to tackle the threat of painkiller addiction. It is very deadly, and it's involved in half of all fatal overdoses. Most legislation was aimed at making it more difficult for people to get prescriptions, increasing the oversight on doctors, and tracking which medications were going where.
But when prescription painkillers are harder to get, and more expensive on the black market, people turn to heroin for their fix.
The Massive Increase in Heroin Overdose
In Vermont in 2013, heroin overdoses nearly doubled year-over-year. Many states are seeing similar, if less dramatic, trends. Heroin addiction is skyrocketing in America, and families and loved ones are paying the price.
What can be done about heroin addiction? There are some initiatives to combat heroin overdose, including "good samaritan" laws and the carrying of Naloxone by law enforcement. But the best long-term solution to heroin addiction is, and always has been, the right course of rehab treatment.
If you or a loved one is struggling with heroin dependence or addiction, call Reflections Recovery today to learn how we can help you begin a new life. We work with many forms of insurance so you don't necessarily have to cover all the costs yourself.