A rising epidemic across the Midwest and throughout the United States is the prevalence of individuals dealing with addiction to painkillers and other opiates and opioids. The youth of America are, unfortunately, well aware of the pharmaceutical compounds such as vicodin, oxycontin, oxycodone, percocet, fentanyl, and so many more. This fact is one that is both disturbing and a major problem in our society. Many times this problem starts right in your medicine cabinet.
Research has shown that in 2011 over 200 million prescriptions were written for painkillers in the United States alone; we only have over 300 million individuals in this country! And part of this problem is that many times an amount in excess of what is actually needed is given, leaving half empty bottles to dispose of. Who wants to waist perfectly good medicine? Right, so most people just throw their painkillers in the cabinet above the sink, where they sit until...
Now, most people think of a progression of most young people through a "gateway" of drugs, i.e. cigarettes, beer, liquor, weed, and so on. The facts however are starting to show a different trend, that getting prescriptions like vicodin or oxycontin out of their parent's medicine cabinets is a lot easier than trying to find a way to obtain illicit drugs or alcohol. And so the battle begins. Opiate painkillers like vicodin, percocet, oxycontin, and oxycodone are highly addictive and many times a serious addiction can occur before the individual even realizes the dangers.
Once the body has adapted to this dopamine agonist it begins to need the chemical to function correctly and thus a cost is incurred on the individual. This cost is a financial burden but let us not forget the mental and physical burden also involved. The cost of some of these painkillers is extremely expensive both on the street and with a prescription from a physician. However, there is a much more affordable alternative; heroin&hellip;
Most people don't jump right on the heroin train, in fact, this rarely happens according to self-reports from many individuals. The progression that many individuals experience occurs unknowingly, like Super Mario Brothers when you get into a pipe without knowing where you will end up, the dangers that lie ahead are rarely labeled on prescription painkillers' bottles.
There is a stigma around using and becoming addicted to heroin, and the very people that frown at this idea end up themselves becoming categorized by it. The financial, mental, and physical burdens that opiate dependency places on an individual and their family often shift the concentration gradient from prescription opiates to heroin quite easily. Heroin can be less costly than the pharmaceutical opiates, and with the influx of heroin into the United States it is also readily accessible. And you don't have to use a needle! Heroin can be used by snorting, swallowing, and smoking as well, taking some of the stigma away.
Understanding the disease of addiction makes understanding the progression into heroin use much easier. That there are physical adaptations that mean the body needs heroin to function and that the brain recognizes heroin use as a means of survival make this already slippery slope much more slippery. This information is vital in the prevention of further heroin abuse. There are local organizations that will dispose of unneeded medications to decrease the amount on the street and many more programs if a little research is done.
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Article Added on Sunday, May 4, 2014
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