It’s all over the news that heroin use is on the rise in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that heroin overdoses and deaths rose 286 percent between 2003 and 2013. These are scary numbers, but it’s hard to stop the problem if people don’t know where it started. Below is more information on how the heroin epidemic began.
The Start of Heroin
Heroin isn’t a new drug. Chemist C. R. Alder Wright introduced it to the world in 1874. At the time, scientists hoped that heroin could replace morphine.
They originally believed that it was less addictive. Of course, they later learned that injecting it was nearly four times stronger than morphine and even more addictive.
The Heroin Epidemic
Why is there a sudden jump in heroin use? Why was there a nearly 300 percent increase in deaths and overdoses over a decade? Unfortunately, there’s no one factor to blame. Many situations and elements have come together to create the perfect storm for heroin to thrive.
However, experts point to one factor more often than others. It’s the rise in doctors prescribing prescription painkillers, which are opiates just like heroin. Before the mid-1990s, these painkillers were basically restricted to people who were in severe accidents or had cancer. With the release of OxyContin in 1996, the whole landscape of prescription painkillers changed.
Because of heavy marketing and incentives from pharmaceutical companies, doctors started prescribing prescription painkillers more often. The overprescribing continued for many years until 2013 when the FDA vowed to crack down pill mills. A pill mill describes a medical facility or pharmacy that inappropriately prescribes narcotics.
The crackdown proved effective, and the number of pill mills significantly declined. Pharmaceutical companies also made their drugs harder to grind and break apart to snort or inject. However, America had already developed a taste for opioids.
Prescription drugs led the nation into a heroin epidemic. However, why do so many people turn to heroin from prescription drugs?
On the street, prescriptions are expensive to buy. Heroin is much cheaper and, as an opioid, provides the same high. When people can no longer afford the pills that they want, they turn to heroin as a much cheaper alternative.
Get Help for Your Heroin Addiction
At Melrose Recovery Group, we can help you get over your heroin addiction. We help people throughout the entire heroin addiction treatment process. Some of the programs that we offer include:
- Residential treatment
- Art and music therapy
- Adventure therapy
- Individual and group therapy
- Intensive outpatient program
Don’t let the heroin epidemic hurt you or your loved ones. Get help to start down the path to recovery. Call us today at 866-271-3438 for more information.