Over the past decade, heroin consumption has increased fivefold. As heroin use increases, more and more people suffer as a result. The effects of the heroin epidemic can be felt everywhere in America. Clearly, it will take decisive action to turn it around.
Prescription Drugs are on the Rise
Heroin is an opiate. A person with an addiction to opiates can get the high they seek with both heroin and opioid painkillers. As America’s heroin consumption increases, so does its consumption of prescription medications.
It’s impossible to separate the growing epidemic of opioid prescription drugs and the epidemic of heroin use. The two are closely linked and one might even be causing the other.
When doctors casually and freely prescribe opioid drugs to patients, there’s a higher risk of those patients developing an addiction. Once a person has an addiction to opioids, they’re more likely to use heroin. Heroin users, also, are more likely to use prescription opioids if they are available.
The opioid epidemic is definitely increasing demand for prescription opioid drugs. In many cases, the patients receiving these drugs don’t actually need them for legitimate medical reasons. This means there are more prescription drugs floating around throughout the country as well as more opportunities for people to have an addiction.
Drug Use is Viewed as Commonplace
If a person knows others who use heroin, they’ll begin to see it as more common. One of the main factors that lead to drug abuse is availability. If heroin is around, it increases the drug’s visibility and appeal. This is why crime and street culture flourish around drug trafficking.
Heroin use has become an everyday part of life in some parts of the country, so much so that it’s not only affecting the lives of heroin addicts anymore. Many people who don’t even use drugs can feel its effects on society as a whole—for better and for worse.
The bottom line is that nobody should ever view heroin as an everyday substance use. The myth that people can consume it recreationally, like alcohol, is dangerous. That misconception is one of the legacies that the opioid epidemic is leaving behind.
Government Costs are Rising to Treat and Care for Addicted Individuals
The heroin epidemic is, quite frankly, expensive. Individuals that abuse heroin have to pay for the drug, and perhaps pay later for treatment. The government also has to bear the burden of significant costs at every step of the process.
Federal and state governments cover a lot of the medical care for those who overdose on heroin. In 2015, more than 13,000 people died from a heroin overdose. Emergency response teams were able to save thousands more, but at a price.
The US government is spending more money every year to care for people addicted to drugs. The costs are due to the rise in opioid abuse, which involves prescription painkillers and heroin.
In the US in 2013 alone, taxpayers footed a bill of about $29 billion to pay for drug abuse treatment services. The government spent another $25 billion that year on care for people who overdosed, including emergency room visits and ambulance rides. A further $57 billion of taxpayer money went toward incarceration and court proceedings for drug-related crimes in the same year. In ever year since, it’s a problem that has only gotten worse.
How Heroin Rehab in Portland Can Change Your Life
Ending the heroin epidemic isn’t an easy job. More education about the dangers of drug abuse might be a good place to start. It’s also vital for everyone to understand the risks of heroin use. If you notice that a loved one is abusing heroin, Crestview Recovery can help.
At Crestview Recovery, we tackle heroin addiction one patient at a time. A variety of treatment methods is available, including:
- Dual diagnosis treatment
- Group and family therapy sessions
- Individual talk therapy
- Holistic approaches
- Ongoing aftercare and relapse prevention
- Life skills education
The heroin epidemic is changing America, and not for the better. At Crestview Recovery in Portland, Oregon, you can escape heroin abuse and commit to a healthier life. Begin your journey to recovery through our addiction treatment programs by calling 866.262.0531 today.
Since 2016, Dr. Merle Williamson, a graduate of Oregon Health Sciences University, has been the Medical Director at Crestview Recovery, bringing a rich background in addiction medicine from his time at Hazelden Treatment Center. He oversees outpatient drug and alcohol treatments, providing medical care, setting policies, detox protocols, and quality assurance measures. Before specializing in addiction medicine, he spent 25 years in anesthesiology, serving as Chair of Hospital Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee and Chief of Anesthesia at Kaiser Permanente. This experience gives him a unique perspective on treating prescription drug addiction.