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If you’ve been paying attention to the news in recent months, you’ve probably heard about the opioid epidemic that is devastating lives and families across the United States. However, heroin addiction is nothing new. This highly addictive substance has been abused since it was first created back in 1874. So, why is heroin – and opioid addiction in general – getting so much renewed attention from local and national media? The answer to this question has less to do with the substance itself and more to do with the new way people are falling victim to heroin’s relentless grip.
Understanding Today’s Heroin Addict
Heroin and opioid addicts are not the stereotypical junkies you see portrayed on television or in the movies. Nor are they the glamorous rock stars and movie stars we hear about on TMZ. Who are they? Increasingly, they’re the everyday people you interact with at your job, at your favorite places and even in your own family. It’s not fun to think about this unpleasant reality, and that’s a huge part of why the opioid epidemic is out of control.
A New Path to Heroin Addiction
For many people, the path to heroin addiction starts innocently enough; for instance, maybe a painkiller is prescribed from a dentist following a routine dental procedure. Or, perhaps a doctor prescribes OxyContin® to temporarily manage chronic backpain. Under normal circumstances, opioid painkillers can be safely used under a doctor’s supervision. The problem, however, is that the opioid prescription rate in the U.S. has skyrocketed in the last 25 years, making it easier than ever for people to obtain access to these highly addictive chemicals. Naturally, with increased access to opioids comes increased risk of addiction.
Eventually some of the people who became addicted to opioids – either through over-prescription or improper use – will need to find a new source for their painkillers. One option, known as doctor-shopping, is the practice of jumping around from physician to physician in order to obtain more of the opioids necessary to maintain an addiction. When this stops working, a second option is to purchase illicit opioids like heroin from drug dealers off the street. This is why opioid addicts are more than 40 times as likely to become addicted to heroin.
Heroin Addiction is Just the Beginning
Over time, people who are addicted to heroin need higher and higher doses to compensate for their increased tolerance to the drug. This leads many people to seek out more potent synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Because fentanyl is so much more toxic than heroin, the potential for an overdose is exponentially higher than with heroin use alone. Carfentanil, also known as carfentanyl, is even more deadly. What is carfentanil?
Heroin Rehab at The Raleigh House
If you or someone you love is addicted to opioids including prescription painkillers, heroin or synthetic opioids, we can help. Our heroin drug rehab program offers a welcoming environment that inspires our clients to stay longer, which leads to successful results. Learn more about our addiction recovery program or find out if your insurance provider is accepted. Don’t wait.