The rate at which people are going from prescription painkillers to heroin is alarming. This trend has become more common as the years have passed. The opioid epidemic in the United States has claimed the lives of countless people of all age groups, and it is only getting worse. Knowing the facts about this trend can help to identify the risks in loved ones, and help those who are struggling to make the decision to get help. There is a better life outside of addiction, and it is attainable with detox and addiction treatment, especially in the early stages.
Prescription painkillers are exactly as they sound. They are medications, only legally obtainable through a prescription from a doctor, used to treat mild to severe pain. These medications can be effective in helping to treat the pain, but can lead to devastating consequences in a person’s life. Even when taken as prescribed, a physical dependence can develop in those who take these medications. The fear of going into withdrawal often leads people to go from prescription painkillers to heroin when the prescriptions run out.
There are many of these medications that are in circulation across the country. Here are some of the more common ones available on the market.
Hydrocodone: sold under names like Lortab, Lorcet, and Vicodin this codeine derived opioid is used for moderate to severe pain.
Oxycodone: also used for moderate to severe pain, it is derived from thebaine and sold under names like Oxycontin, Percodan, and Percocet.
Methadone: a synthetic opioid used for chronic, severe pain management, it is also used for the treatment of opioid dependence. Dolophine and Methadose are some examples.
Morphine: used in pain management before and after surgeries, this is an opium derived painkiller. Sold under names like MS Contin, Duramorph, and Roxanol it is chemically similar to heroin.
Buprenorphine: used for opioid dependence treatment, and sold under names like Subutex and Sixmo.
All of these medications can lead to dependence, and have the potential to lead someone to going from prescription painkillers to heroin. Taking precaution before and during use of these medications can make all the difference.
Because going from prescription painkillers to heroin is so common, understanding exactly what heroin is can be vital to avoiding use of the drug. Heroin is an opioid derived from morphine, and can be found in a white or brown powder form or a sticky black form. It is often abused by snorting, smoking, or injecting it, and can lead to chemical dependence on the drug, also known as addiction. Heroin binds to opioid receptors in the brain attributed to feeling pain and pleasure. When this happens, the brain becomes accustomed to the level of pain management or pleasure produced by the heroin, and won’t be able to accept anything less than that. It can take an extended amount of time to return to a semblance of normalcy when this has been achieved.
There are many reasons why people transition from prescription painkillers to heroin. One of the main reasons is affordability. When the prescription and refills run out, the dependency remains. This leaves people struggling to live life as they normally would because the body is experiencing a systematic shock when the medications are removed. When legally obtained prescriptions are unattainable, turning to illicitly obtaining the drugs is the next option. However, this can prove to be financially inconvenient. Heroin is cheaper.
Another reason people go from prescription painkillers to heroin is accessibility. The task of getting a new prescription for things like percocet or vicodin can be more difficult than getting the more easily obtained heroin. Turning to heroin can be a dangerous thing to do. If you find yourself struggling with heroin, or with leaving the prescription painkillers behind, seek professional help as soon as possible to avoid further disruption to your day to day life.
There are many effects of heroin addiction. The most dangerous being overdose. When the body acclimates to a drug, it will require higher doses to feel normal. This can lead to both fatal and nonfatal overdose. Even nonfatal overdoses can have long lasting effects on the person who goes through it. Going from prescription painkillers to heroin is dangerous, and getting help for the addiction is extremely crucial to surviving it.
Opioid addiction, whether prescription painkillers or heroin, can be a life threatening disease. It can lead to fatal consequences, and cause irreparable damage in your life. If you or a loved one struggle with addiction to prescription painkillers or heroin, there is help available. With one phone call, you can begin the process of regaining control of your life. At Empowered Recovery Center we provide a safe and comfortable place to begin your path to recovery. Contact us today and start down the road to the life you deserve.
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