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Prescription Painkillers and Heroin Link

Prescription Painkillers and Heroin Link

Heroin addiction and prescription painkiller abuse has become an increasing concern here in the United States. It is estimated that heroin use has increased 63% within the past 10 years. Partly to blame is the increase in prescription painkiller abuse. 
Because this is becoming a dangerous problem, President Barack Obama implemented a new program to curb accessibility to both prescription painkillers and heroin, especially in the urban areas of New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland.
Individuals addicted to prescription opioids will first try to obtain the drugs through their local pharmacies. They may try to “doctor-shop” in order to obtain a prescription for opioid painkillers. When they are cut off from prescription opioids, they may move onto heroin. According to the CDC’s Vital Signs report, people who are unable to obtain prescription opioids through their pharmacy will move onto obtaining heroin on the streets. 
The majority of states already have a prescription drug monitoring program in place, which tracks a patient’s attempts to obtain prescription opioids through various doctors.
The majority of individuals who become addicted to prescription painkillers have no intention to use them for unintended purposes. They have a legitimate reason for having these prescriptions, but they become addicted to the way the medication makes them feel. This is when the impulse to obtain painkillers by any means necessary becomes impossible to ignore.
According to a new report, those who are addicted opiate painkillers are up to 40 times more likely to abuse heroin. This makes the addiction to prescription painkillers all the more dangerous. Health officials are reporting that abuse of opioids is partially responsible for the increase of heroin use over the past several years. 
The reason why some individuals who are addicted to opioids may turn to heroin is due to the fact that opioids and heroin are composed of the same chemical.

Symptoms of opiate addiction and prescription painkillers

If you suspect that someone around you may have an addiction to opiates, including heroin, look for the following symptoms:
Track marks/needle marks


Individuals who use heroin may have needle marks on their arms, legs, and elsewhere on the body.
Neglectful of responsibilities


When individuals are using opiates, or any other drug, their attention is on obtaining more prescription painkillers or heroin in order to maintain their “high.”
Increased sleeping


Opiates are notorious for making its users drowsy. If your loved one has been sleeping excessively, it could be due to their use of prescription painkillers or heroin.
Weight fluctuations

Individuals who are addicted to opiates may show a fluctuation in their weight. Some individuals may gain weight due to increased fatigue. On the flipside, some individuals may actually lose weight due to excessive sleeping.
An addiction to both prescription painkillers and heroin is extremely dangerous.
 If you, or someone you know, may be addicted to prescription painkillers or heroin, contact your local opiate addiction treatment center. Opiate addiction treatment centers are equipped to answer any question you may have in regards to your loved one’s addiction. Call your local opiate addiction treatment center today.

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