Heroin is an opioid, a painkiller derived from opium. It’s not that hard to convert opium into heroin so it’s often done on-site right where the opium poppies are grown. From there it’s transported to countries world-wide. In some countries, heroin is a legal drug used to relieve severe pain in cancer patients and in hospice facilities. In the United States heroin is classified as a drug with no accepted clinical use. In other words, it’s illegal.
You can scarcely watch the news today without seeing yet another tragedy related to heroin. People die every day from heroin overdose, some of them teenagers. Much of the heroin addiction seen today is due to the original misuse of strong prescription opioids. When patients can no longer get the drugs legally from their doctors, they first turn to buying their pills on the black market.
This doesn’t work for most people for long because black market prescription opioids are often a dollar per milligram or more. Therefore, a 30 milligram tablet would cost at least $30, with the person needing at least several a day just to keep withdrawal symptoms at bay.
The Perilous Path: From Pills to Heroin to Fentanyl
Doctors stop prescribing opioids for patients for many reasons. Usually the doctor’s reasons are sound, but for an addicted patient, it doesn’t matter. If they can’t get the desired pills legally at prices they can afford, meaning at a pharmacy, then they will get an opioid substance on the street at prices they can afford. And that’s where heroin comes in. Today’s heroin is cheap and potent.
Recently, heroin overdoses have increased dramatically because what the buyer thought was heroin, wasn’t heroin at all; it was fentanyl. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid roughly some 25-50 times stronger than heroin. Because it’s so powerful much less can be used, saving dealers money. It’s bad enough that heroin users are buying a product that is always of unknown strength and purity. But when that bag that is supposed to be heroin is actually fentanyl, it’s no wonder people are dying every day from overdose.
Suspect that a friend or loved one may have an opioid drug problem if:
- Their pupils are pin-pointed
- They fall asleep throughout the day
- They are always broke
- They always wear long sleeves, even in hot weather
Talk to them and get them into treatment before it’s too late. For help, you can call us: (855) 782-1009. We are here 24 hours a day to answer your questions and offer personalized assistance for your situation.