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Opioid Use to Heroin: A Deadly Transition

Opioid Use and Heroin - The Bergand Group

We know already that there are a good amount of people who are currently addicted to heroin who reached that point after an experience with prescription painkillers. However, the process that leads from one to the other isn’t often discussed. With a more thorough understanding of why patients transition from opioid use to heroin, we might be able to better combat this massive epidemic.

How Heroin Stems From Opioid Use

A large part of the reason cited for this dangerous switch is a result of “people originally addicted to painkillers (opioids) who switched to illegal drugs after their prescriptions (or their cash) ran out.” Though the Surgeon General has been working with doctors in order to reduce prescriptions in an effort to heal, some are too far gone by that point and feel compelled to seek out other methods. This is where things lead to heroin use, both because it’s cheaper to acquire and because they are no longer able to find someone to fill the prescription.

The problem began with ‘safe’ doses of these painkillers which were initially prescribed “to control pain in cancer and surgical patients.” That opioid use changed with time in that it both changed in its doses and for its original prescribed purpose. That is, those with less severe pain than those marked above were then offered the same ‘solution’… the results of which are still developing today. Another huge part of how this crisis developed is that Purdue Pharma, among others, reported that there was very little chance of addiction with these drugs. That was twenty years ago and we are seeing the continued effects at present. 

Some areas and demographics have been much more at risk than others. For example, unknown to many, Southern states such as West Virginia, Kentucky, and others entrenched in coal mining are more likely to suffer. Why? Because that industry of work results in a number of injuries which are then treated to manage the pain… and you can imagine how it might expand from there. Similarly, our veterans receive painkillers to deal with the difficulties of their wartime injuries and face the same, tragic results.

As previously discussed, the use of heroin by these people seeking relief from pain or who are enslaved by an addiction is just the beginning of the highly-dangerous problem. Many dealers, interested in saving money, do not give their customers ‘pure’ products. Customers often can’t tell the difference and purchase dangerous mixtures which they then put into their bodies. In one case (of many), a dealer was arrested for “selling heroin laced with another drug used to tranquilize elephants.” This is a terrifying prospect for anyone, and if you have loved ones who are at all in danger of using these substances, it’s even more horrifying.

The CDC, among others, is able to report facts and figures, including fatal statistics, as the years pass, but we want desperately for them to reflect positive change and lessened opioid use. Just within the past decade, numbers have risen dramatically across the board. We as a nation are moving in the right direction by creating and passing new legislature, but it isn’t enough yet. If you are suffering from an addiction to opioids or are looking for help for another person, then contact The Bergand Group. We offer recovery programs for yourself or for others or are seeking education materials about addictions. The Bergand Group is Maryland’s leading addiction recovery center and offers support for those struggling with addiction and mental health issues, including direction for those who may be denying an addiction.  We can help you to work through your addiction in a safe and healthy environment where everyone is committed to your care.

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About The Bergand Group:

At The Bergand Group in Baltimore and Harford County, Maryland, our therapists have more than twenty years of experience in the mental health and addiction fields. Our focus is on providing comprehensive mental health care and appropriate care for addictive disorders. We offer both alcohol rehab and drug rehabilitation. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or substance addiction, there is help available. We also offer several other services, including family therapy and counseling. We can help. Contact us today.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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