The Descent into Heroin Addiction

The Descent into Heroin Addiction

Since the death of acclaimed actor Philip Seymour Hoffman in February, a nationwide spotlight has been placed upon heroin addiction and its growing popularity. According to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, rates of heroin abuse in the US have increased significantly, as roughly 400,000 people abused heroin in 2002, but almost 700,000 people abused it in 2012. However, since 2012 the number of drug users have drastically increased, and at a more rapid rate than any study could predict.

In January of this year, 22 people died as a result of heroin overdoses in just one Pennsylvania county. The most shocking aspect of this news was that they all died within a week. This story broke right after Hoffman’s death, and since then more and more states have shared their current heroin-related death rates. Now, many people are asking why so many people get addicted to heroin in the first place.

A strong reason for the nationwide increase in heroin addicts is the prescription drug epidemic. In 2011, the Centers for Disease Control gave the prescription drug epidemic its name, and shortly thereafter rates of heroin abuse began to rise. Unfortunately, prescription drugs that contain opiates (such as Vicodin, Percocet and OxyContin) are becoming so highly sought after that they are now incredibly expensive. In addition, authorities and the government are tightening restrictions on these drugs because of their addictive tendencies. As a result, people that once abused prescription opiates have turned to heroin – a much cheaper, less controlled substance.

Many heroin addicts have become hooked on this drug via the prescription pill pathway. However, some people have gotten addicted to heroin as a result of pure experimentation, as well as through using gateway drugs, like marijuana and cocaine. As heroin becomes more available and it continues to grow in popularity, it can be expected that more and more people will experiment with this substance out of pure curiosity.

While many people are losing their lives to heroin addiction, other lives are being saved from it. It is important to understand that, no matter how a heroin addiction starts, treatment is available to end it. There are also different levels of treatment that people may seek depending on their backgrounds with heroin, opiates and other substances. Each recovering heroin addict will have a unique path toward success in the future, but actively seeking recovery will help them avoid relapse in the height of heroin abuse.

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