The epidemic, as it’s been called, is getting worse. Teens and adults are finding their way to a drug that is simply ruining their lives, or worse, taking their lives. At this time, there are over 500,000 Americans addicted to heroin.
One woman, according to a news article from the BBS, said, “”I don’t think these police officers know how bad it is out there – I really don’t.”
For instance, this same news article describes a group of men and women who have been addicts so long that their arms are “trashed” from injecting too often. Their arms are bleeding as they attempt to stab a needle into a vein. One man named Greg said:
“My arms are fried. It sucks. This is what I have to do nine out of 10 times is muscle it because my arms are so trashed.”
He’s indicating that because his arms are no longer healthy enough to receive the injection, he has to inject the needle into a muscle instead. He and his partner Stacey, also an addict, have three boys and the family live on the streets. “The hardest thing,” said Greg, “is just not being there for them. I think about them every day. I try to just numb it with this dope but it’s just hard, man.”
And it’s not just those living on the streets, but heroin has affected the lives of teens, young adults, and older men and women living in suburbs of middle to upper class America. In fact, every day 2,500 teens ages 12-17 begin using a prescription painkiller for the first time.
Facts About the Opiate Epidemic
Heroin and painkillers are both opiates, and one can easily lead to the other. Because painkillers require a prescription and can be expensive, it’s easy to make the switch to heroin, despite the stigma of using it.
Yet, anyone addicted to opiates will ignore the stigma of using heroin, especially if it’s cheaper, which it is. Part of the problem is that there has been a flood of heroin at very low prices, making it very accessible to wide groups of people. In the 60’s and 70’s, you could buy a “dime bag” which cost $10. Now, you can buy a “dime bag” for $6.
The difference in price, although not much, is the difference that has partly caused the heroin epidemic and required thousands of people needing heroin detox and substance abuse treatment.
It’s important to know that heroin is a dangerous drug. The drug essentially rewires the brain suppressing all instincts and slowing down the nervous system. The drug can be hard to break, as many news reports, articles, and television programs are revealing.
Between 2007 and 2012, the number of heroin users almost doubled. In 2007, for example, 337 thousand people were addicted to heroin in America and in 2012 that number jumped up to 669 thousand.
If you or someone you know is addicted to heroin, it’s important that you seek help. Doing so can save a life. Heroin is a difficult habit to break. Really, the only way to get through the dangers of using is to seek addiction help. Using creates a strong pull to use more.
But if you can find help in the form of someone who is not using, someone who can lead you to a heroin detox facility, then you’ve got a chance. But even then, you’ve got to face your strong cravings to use. You’ve got to face the symptoms of withdrawal.
You’ve got to face the inner turmoil that might have led to using heroin in the first place. But at least you’re in a community of others who are there to support you.
Once you move through the heroin detox process, although it can be challenging, you’re on the road to saving your life. You’re on the road to recovery.
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