Why does the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) tell us that opiate addiction is now an epidemic, the number one cause of injury death in America today? Use of pain pills and heroin remained stable throughout the Sixties and Seventies, but it quadrupled dramatically in the nineties and doubled again over the last decade.
Officials have linked recent heroin deaths in Georgia to a more powerful form of the drug circulating throughout the state. Researchers try to rate the strength of heroin floating on the streets at any given time, but ratings vary erratically—purity of the powerful drug throughout California in one study ran from 20 to 80 percent. Texas has a much higher quantity of Mexican brown powder or black tar heroin.
Many people turn to the drug when they can no longer get pain pills, and today’s addicts are accustomed to much stronger medication than our grandparents. The old standbys included Percodan or Percocet, oxycodone (mixed with aspirin or acetaminophen) and Tylenol with codeine. Today’s OxyContin has no aspirin and more than twice the amount of oxycodone. Vicodin is stronger than codeine, but weaker than hydromorphone. And so the search goes on for the best high.
Reasons have changed for people’s first use. For years, the standard addicts involved someone with little or no income, no insurance, and an incomplete education. Little changed over the Sixties and Seventies except that the average age of heroin users was rising—addicts kept using, unless they died, and young adults typically ignored heroin.
The past decade reveals a change in demographics: Adults with higher levels of income and education turn to heroin when their physician cuts off their supply of painkillers and they can no longer source pain pills on their own. Teens find that their supply of pills dries up and someone suggests that they try heroin. Most women who use opiates including heroin—their number has increased five times in recent years—unfortunately often begin using it through a relationship with someone who is addicted.
It’s nothing but big business for drug traffickers, despite the anguish it wreaks. Heroin deaths in Georgia recently included a 16-year-old high school student. Inner-city dealers set up shop in suburban motels so they can easily reach their ‘customers’ including teens. Heroin sales worldwide earn traffickers an estimated $68 billion, and the Taliban alone pulls in an estimated $155 million in revenue .
Do you want to feed that machine and become a statistic? Call today for help at a methadone clinic.