It’s no secret at this point that prescription opioid use is a problem and that the epidemic is continuing to wreak havoc across the entire United States. While the nation is working to get ahead of the opioid crisis by curbing the amount of prescriptions written, another problem has emerged.
Recent news and surveys have shown that it’s becoming more frequent for individuals addicted to prescription painkillers to turn to something much more dangerous: heroin.
Oftentimes, people begin using prescription painkillers when prescribed in a safe way by a doctor. But over time, this innocent prescription can lead to dependence, misuse, addiction and eventually heroin use.
While not everyone who abuses painkillers switches to heroin, laws and prescription drug changes are making it more challenging for individuals to get painkillers, so they often move to the cheaper and more accessible option, heroin.
3 Reasons Painkillers Can Be a Gateway to Heroin Use
It can sometimes be hard to wrap your head around exactly how the transition from painkillers to heroin use happens. It’s different for everyone, but below are a few reasons that might help you better understand the journey someone takes throughout their addiction.
1. Heroin is a Comparable Substitute for Prescription Painkillers
Heroin is derived from morphine, which gets its properties from opium. Many of the leading prescription painkillers on the market, including hydrocodone and oxycodone, also derive from opium. Because all of these drugs are opioids, heroin has similar “high” effects to prescription painkillers. In the eyes of an addict, this makes heroin an ideal substitute for painkillers.
2. Heroin is More Easily Accessible and Cheaper
As mentioned earlier, prescription painkillers are getting more and more difficult to abuse. State legislatures, law enforcement and medical regulatory agencies are cracking down to prevent these prescription pills from getting into the wrong hands. This makes prescription painkillers significantly more difficult to come by, leading individuals with an addiction to find other options. Heroin is more easily accessible everywhere.
Not to mention, painkillers can cost anywhere from $60 to $100 per pill. This financial burden can make an addiction much more obvious and challenging to maintain. On the flip side, one dose of heroin costs about $10, depending on where it was purchased.
3. Heroin is Easier to Use than Painkillers
While this may seem a little counterintuitive, it’s important to note individuals abusing painkillers are not taking them in pill form. The pill form of painkillers is designed to provide a slow release for the management of pain, so abusers must crush it up into a powder so that it can be snorted or injected. Another way pharmaceutical companies are fighting the war on addiction is by making painkillers more and more challenging to crush. Conversely, heroin is already in powder form, making it ready to use as soon as someone obtains it.
When someone is addicted to painkillers or heroin, it’s extremely difficult to stop using. Opioid abuse is at an all-time high and the effects of stopping cold turkey can be very difficult to deal with. The best option is to find an addiction recovery center that is equipped to help battle the disease of addiction at any stage.
Find a Unique Approach to Recovery at Footprints Beachside Recovery
At Footprints Beachside Recovery, we tailor our approach to better serve the needs of each one of our clients. It is our belief that understanding alcohol and drug addiction is an important part of each client’s recovery. Talk to an admissions specialists today and learn about the available opioid treatment options at our recovery center.