Is There a Relationship Between Prescription Drug Abuse and Heroin Use?

To fully understand why a person develops addictions, it is important to keep in mind that each person is different, with his or her own set of circumstances. While some of these are similar, the events that led to drug abuse and/or heroin use can be precipitated by varying factors, such as physical pain, stress, the recent death of a loved one, and so on.

What Is Prescription Drug Abuse?

This type of drug abuse involves using pain relievers, like Vicodin or oxycodone. People will self-medicate themselves to relieve Drug Abuse and Heroin Abusepain rather than following their doctor’s orders. Over time, they find they need higher and higher dosages of prescription drugs to notice any pain relief. By this point, they have developed an addiction to the drug.

Some people will even become hostile and highly defensive if their doctor attempts to slowly wean them off the drugs or switch them to a different pain reliever. Others strongly believe they cannot function without the drug.

Another type of prescription drug abuse is when people take the drug but were not prescribed it. For instance, someone is taking oxycodone they got from a friend or family member even though they may not need it. They, too, can become addicted and find they cannot function without the drug.

What Is Heroin?

Heroin is derived from the poppy plant and begins as opium. The opium is refined into morphine, and the morphine is further refined to make heroin. Heroin is considered a pain reliever and, at one time, was even prescribed to patients before it was made illegal. Heroin is highly addictive. For many people, taking it once is enough to get them hooked.

The Link Between Prescription Drugs and Heroin

A person with an addiction to prescription painkillers is 19 more times likely to try heroin according to data collected from 2002 Heroin Addictionto 2012 by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. In another study where young urbanites were surveyed, 86 percent reported they used prescription pain relievers prior to trying heroin.1

Keep in mind, these individuals were not prescribed prescription drugs. Rather, the pain relievers became a gateway drug to heroin. When they could no longer obtain the number of drugs they required to feed their addiction, they started looking for another drug that would bring them similar effects.

This represents a major change in gateway habits. Previously, those addicted to prescription drugs had first used heroin. Today, it is the other way around. People are moving from prescription drugs to heroin. One reason for this change reported by individuals surveyed is because they found heroin was cheaper and much easier to obtain.

Addiction to either prescription drugs or heroin is dangerous. As one becomes addicted, more and more of the drugs are required to achieve the same effects. This can lead to accidental overdoses, brain damage, comas, and even death.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, help is available from BlueCrest Recovery Center. Contact us at (973) 453-5384 today.



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