Opioid Crisis – Heroin Use on the Rise

Written by Chloe Nicosia

The Abuse of Opioids: Heroin Use on the Rise

Heroin is well-known to be a highly addictive substance that can destroy a person’s life, yet many people still fall victim to the drug. Even though many local and national government agencies have tried to battle against the alarm opioid crisis statistics, opioid abuse remains a major concern. While in the past opioid abuse was mainly focused on the misuse of pain relievers, the rapid increase in heroin abuse is a worrying trend.

With heroin use on the rise, we will explore what has led to this new trend and how to get help for an addiction.

Opioid Crisis Statistics

According to a publication on the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), the opioid substance that is initially abused is changing from opioid pain relievers to heroin. In 2005, 84.7 percent of first-time users were abusing opioid pain relievers compared to only 8.7 percent starting with heroin. By 2015, the first-time users of prescription pain relievers accounted for 51.8 percent of users while first-time heroin abusers rose to 33.3 percent. With heroin use on the rise according to this data, the opioid crisis management plan will need to be adapted.

Why has Drug Use Increased?

Why has drug use increased for heroin and lowered with prescription pain relievers? With heroin use on the rise, finding out why the abuse of the substance has increased is an important first step.

The authors of the publication in the NCBI archives have suggested that this new trend of heroin use can be attributed to the crackdown on prescription opioids. As it becomes more difficult to obtain opioids from a doctor, people are turning to alternatives such as heroin. This affects both first-time users and people who are already abusing prescription opioids.

With heroin use on the rise, the authors also suggested that because heroin is becoming more available and at a reduced price, abuse has increased. It is far easier for some people to get heroin from a drug dealer than it is to get a doctor to sign a prescription. Furthermore, just the increased availability of heroin on the streets has also increased the likelihood that people would abuse it.

Finding Help

A person dependent on heroin often needs to hit rock bottom before admitting that they have a problem. The way an addiction alters a person’s mind causes them to ignore the negative effects that the substance has on their lives. An intervention done by close friends, family or co-workers is often the best way to deal with the addiction if the person is unwilling to find help by themselves. An intervention can make an addict aware of just how their behavior is affecting others. It can be the catalyst for treatment that would otherwise not occur.

Since opioids have withdrawal symptoms when a person stops abusing them, a detox is required. A medical detox allows a rehab to assist the patient through the symptoms by giving them medication that can counteract or alleviate the symptoms of withdrawal.

Behavioral therapy and alternative treatment methods should then be employed to help prevent relapse. Isolating and working through the issues that led to heroin abuse through therapy is the best way to prevent future relapse. Furthermore, specific relapse prevention techniques are taught during the treatment program to give the recovering addict the best chance at long-term recovery.

The opioid addiction issues that America faces continue to evolve.  Rehab centers remain on the frontline in the battle against opioid abuse. Call Better Addiction Care today to find a rehab facility in your area at 1.800.429.7690.