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Heroin abuse often starts in the doctor’s office

Over the past year, we’ve heard a lot about the rise of heroin abuse. States from Vermont to Florida have reported that use rates in their regions are at near-epidemic levels. During the 1970s and 80s, the drug had a strong hold on urban areas.

Now, however, heroin is being found in homes across rural and suburban America. The new addicts may be from a different social class, but the result is still the same. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, over the last five years, heroin deaths have increased 45 percent.

Why Is Heroin Use Growing?

According to many public health experts, this new wave of addiction often starts at the doctor’s office. According to Dr. Andrew Kolodny, president of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, the vast majority of heroin addicts say that their abuse began after they were exposed to painkillers.

How Is The Problem Being Fixed?

“Often [it was] a doctor who meant well,” Kolodny told NPR. “Not a doctor who was a drug dealer, but a doctor who may have been under the impression that the compassionate way to treat a complaint of pain was with an aggressive opioid prescription.” After a certain point, however, doctors often cut back on their prescriptions in an attempt to prevent abuse.

Drug companies have also made many of their pills tamper-proof, and states have done a better job tracking painkiller prescriptions. Heroin dealers have since stepped in to fill the void, attracting users that previously relied only on prescription pills.

Is someone in your life dealing with addiction? For information about interventions for substance abuse, contact Intervention Services today.

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