After some time being in the background of drugs of choice, you would think that wehad heroin abuse and addiction pretty much licked. You’d be wrong. One thing that has proven true time and time again is that drug abuse trends are somewhat cyclical. What is in vogue today is likely to be some variant of what was all the rage a while back. It should come as no surprise, then, that heroin addiction has never left the ground in America.
The use of heroin just faded from prominence for a bit with the rapid rise in the use of opioids or painkillers such as OxyContin, Vicodin, Percodan, and Percocet. Painkillers are still a huge problem in this country, but the supply is getting harder to come by, and prices are going up. That’s a lot of green for someone with a nasty pill habit.
What may have started as a simple lifting of a few pills from the family medicine cabinet or snagging some from a friend quickly turns into a nearly insatiable demand for more pills and,more often, consumption. Most painkiller abusers don’t get their supply from a prescription given to them by a doctor. It leaves buying them on the street or conning someone with a legitimate prescription (but who doesn’t use them) to sell them.
How much easier is it to just go straight for the heroin? After all, heroin is always available if you have the right hook-up. And, trust us, when you’re hooked on heroin, you always know where to get your fix. And it’s a lot cheaper than Oxy or Vics (Vicodins).
It’s hard to believe that anyone would willingly subject themselves to the risks involved with heroin. Yet that’s exactly what’s happening across America, in big cities, small towns, and rural environments. Over the past four years, as a matter of fact, heroin use has been steadily climbing.
Law enforcement officials point to the increase in the number of arrests, mostly for possession and using the drug. There’s also the alarming number of overdoses coming into hospital emergency rooms that point up the escalation in heroin use.
What’s the lure of heroin that causes seemingly intelligent or otherwise normal people to smoke or inject the drug? In a word, it is euphoria. Drug users are always in search of that extraordinary high, the nirvana or bliss that follows consumption or use. Law enforcement officials and emergency room workers alike say that men and women between 18 and 25 who use prescription opiates or methamphetamines are the most vulnerable to switching over to heroin.
Heroin users start out small. Typically, they don’t just fall toward the hard stuff all at once. They arrive at that drug of choice after moving up the ladder, so to speak, from less potentially lethal substances. Most begin experimenting with alcohol, followed quickly by marijuana. Pills of various sorts – stimulants, sedatives, and painkillers – may be next on the list, or they may be consumed in conjunction with alcohol and smoking dope.
By far, the most widespread experimentation with drugs begins in high school and even junior high. Peer pressure leads to the first sip of alcohol, popping various party pills such as Ecstasy, lacing a joint with PCP or other chemicals, and moving onto other, harder forms of drug use. It’s not always a straight-line progression, nor is it necessarily a foregone conclusion, but once young people start using drugs on a regular basis, there’s bound to be problems in the near term and longterm.