Prescription Painkillers: Gateway to Heroin Addiction
It begins as a prescription for pain after surgery or an injury. Before long the individual is self-medicating and when they no longer have access to the prescription painkiller, they turn to heroin to continue the dependency. Statistics shows time and time again that prescription painkillers are the gateway to heroin addiction.
Prescription Painkiller Abuse
We say this a lot, but let it sink in for a minute… America is only about 5 percent of the world’s population and yet we use 99 percent of the world’s Vicodin. If it sounds like a lot of prescription painkiller use… it is. What’s more, is that Vicodin is just one of the opiate painkillers used by Americans. If you add to that OxyContin, Percocet, Morphine and Fentanyl; the numbers are staggering. So how does one become addicted to prescription painkillers? Dependency and addiction occur from over use of the medication and one of the leading reasons is continuing to take the medication when there is no longer a legitimate reason to do so. Chronic use of prescription opiates will lead to tolerance which means that the body gets use to the medication. Over time, the individual will increase the amount of the drug they are taking to achieve the desired effects. This poses two problems. One the one hand, tolerance is met with an increase in drug use which continues to dependency. Dependency means that the individual cannot function without using the prescription painkiller. The second issue is that increasing the amount of the drug taken puts the individual at an increased risk for opiate overdose. When the individual no longer has access to the prescription painkiller, they will often switch to heroin. Moreover, many users continue to switch back and forth between prescription painkillers and heroin use, often times using the one most convenient.
The statistics are overwhelming – more than nine million people struggle with heroin abuse and addiction and nearly half the deaths from overdose are the result of heroin use according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Addiction counselors report that as many as 60 percent of their patients with heroin addiction began with prescription painkillers. The appeal rests in the fact that heroin, an opiate, affects the body in the same way as prescription painkillers by blocking the opioid receptors in the brain and central nervous system and stimulating the neurotransmitter dopamine. The result is a happy, euphoric feeling.
Needed: Effective Pain Management
One way to address the prescription painkiller epidemic facing America is through effective pain management that does not rely on the pharmaceutical industry. Trying to quit prescription painkiller or heroin can be challenging but not impossible. Seeking the assistance of a professional inpatient drug detox facility will remove the chemical toxins from the body while managing the withdrawal symptoms. Many people experience cravings and other side effects from withdrawal for many years. Finding a way to manage those symptoms without relapse is the key to life-long recovery success. Are you ready to stop using prescription painkillers and/or heroin? Call Gallus Detox Center today at 888-228-9114 and let us help you turn over a new leaf without substance abuse!