Understanding the Heroin Crisis you See in the News

Heroin is an opioid, or narcotic drug, derived from the poppy plant. Most people probably know that much. But what you may not know is why there is suddenly such an overwhelming problem with heroin in the news all the time. It’s hard to watch a news show or pick up a newspaper without reading about yet even more deaths from heroin. Heroin was once mainly a problem seen in the inner cities and poverty-stricken areas. Most users weren’t white. Not anymore. Heroin is everywhere. It’s in the best of schools, cities and homes. But why?

Much of the problem stems from the political backlash aimed at reducing the availability of prescription opioids such as hydrocodone, oxycodone and oxymorphone, better known by its brand name of Opana. These legal drugs created a crisis of their own, and states and the country reacted by enacting laws intended to restrict use of them to patients with very serious conditions, such as cancer. Many tens of thousands of people have died from overdose of prescription opioids in the last few years alone.

From Legal Opioids to Illegal Heroin

The efforts to reduce availability of legal opioids worked a little too well. Many people addicted to them suddenly found their supply cut off when their doctors refused to continue to prescribe them. Bought in a pharmacy, these medications are mostly not expensive. But bought on the street, the prices are outrageous and completely unaffordable even for someone making good money. For example, it’s not unusual to see street oxycodone prices at a dollar a milligram. For a 30 milligram tablet, that would be $30, and typically, at least several tablets a day are required.

With such high prices, people addicted to prescription opioids were faced with the choice of either stopping the drug, which means going through a very painful withdrawal process, or switching to something cheaper. Most opted for the latter. Compared to buying prescription drugs on the street, heroin is cheap. A whole gram, often enough for many doses over several days, can be purchased for anywhere from $40 to $100. Compared to $30 for a single tablet dose, that’s very inexpensive.

People who switch to heroin often don’t understand how to dose it. There’s no way to know the strength or purity, and to get the best effect, it must be injected. Worse, some of what is sold as heroin is actually fentanyl, a opioid some 25-50 times stronger than heroin. No wonder people of all walks of life are dying from the use of heroin.

If you’re using heroin, we urge you to stop. You can call us for information and help 24 hours a day. We won’t judge you. We are here only to help you get your life back on track. It’s all confidential. You can call us here, and we look forward to your call 855-782-1009